Colon Cancer Survivor Has a Message for Us

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It’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society…

Colorectal cancer killed over 50,000 people in the country last year – and doctors say it’s easily avoidable.
I spoke with a gastroenterologist who says colon cancer is diagnosed in one in 22 men, and one in 24 women…
And that thousands go far too long without getting colonoscopies to check for it.
Here’s why he says you shouldn’t wait.

“When you get the phone call and the doctor lays the “C” word on you, you know, it scares the hell out of you,” says Lynn Gustin, Farmer, Mandan.

That’s exactly what happened to Gustin in February of 2015.

“It is the second cause of mortality, or death, of all cancers,” says Dr. Yeshitila Mengesha, Gastroenterology, Sanford Health.

He’s talking about colorectal cancer – and he says too many people go without getting screened.

“They should have a screening – colonoscopy – starting at age 50,” says Mengesha.

Gustin waited 5 years too long.

“I put it off, and put it off, which I shouldn’t have done. I had no symptoms. That was the thing. A lot of times with colon cancer… You don’t have symptoms,” says Gustin.

Thankfully, colorectal cancer is curable- but it does take some tough surgeries.

“They removed about 16 inches of my colon. Two eight inch pieces,” says Gustin.

He says he feels lucky to have survived colon cancer – 
But he doesn’t want anyone else to make the mistake of waiting to get screened. 

“I’ve been getting colonoscopy’s every year now since then. I learned a lesson. I’m trying to teach other people the same lesson. Get it done,” he says.
 

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