TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL)- The American Cancer Society reports colon cancer is the second highest cause of death from cancer in the United States.
50-thousand people will die this year from complications of colon cancer.
Luckily, it’s a kind of cancer that can be treated, as well as prevented.
Whether it’s screening, diagnosis, or treatment, doctors at Holston Medical Group makes sure they provide the best care to their patients.
Colon (or colorectal) cancer can be sneaky.
Dr. Dallas Shone, a Gastroenterologist at Holston Medical Group says, “Unfortunately, there’s very few symptoms of colon cancer. Only maybe sometimes an early symptom could be rectal bleeding, but usually they are awfully late symptoms. Abdominal pain, anemia, iron deficiency, fatigue. They really only come after the cancer is very well-developed, which makes it difficult to find it early.”
And that’s what happened to Dave Light almost seven years ago. After ruling out some other illnesses, Light received his colonoscopy, and a cancer diagnosis.
“Finally,” Light remembers, “we said, ‘Let’s do a colonoscopy. Dr. Shone found a tumor.”
After surgery and rounds of chemo, Light is cancer-free.
Light says, “I’ve gotten to see the granddaughters become high school students, and everything okay I’ll get to see them graduate and go to college, maybe even get married. If I hadn’t had that colonoscopy, I’d be dead.”
Dr. Shone and the staff at HMG make sure they are up-to-date on the latest techniques and treatments to give their patients the best outcome possible for their case.
Light says, “The fact is, I’m alive today, because of that teamwork of my primary care physician, Dr. Shone, Dr. Thomas, the HMG crew.”
Part of their success is making sure their patients know the risk factors.
“The biggest risk factor is really genetics,” Shone says. “If anyone in your family has had colon cancer or colon polyps, you really should pay closer attention.”
Shone adds obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and use of alcohol are also risk factors for colon cancer.
And, let’s be honest. The stories of the colonoscopy aren’t pretty. But the procedure is worth it.
“The bowel prep is really the worst part of the test. But, even that has gotten better,” says Shone. “Most of the bowel prep is a small volume, two glasses 12 hours apart. It’s really not the horror stories everyone talks about.”
Dr. Shone practices what he preaches.
“So, really it’s not the big ogre that everyone thinks it is, he says. “I do practice what I preach. I have had two of them.”
Light adds that this one test has changed his focus, and he takes nothing for granted.
“It completely changed…the future,” he says.
The American Cancer Society recommends screening every ten years at the age of 45, more frequently if there is a family history of colon cancer.