William Huth, a 39-year-father of three, had been suffering stomach pains, but resisted seeing a doctor about it for two years.
“I would have probably not been on this earth if my wife wouldn’t have made me go to her doctor,” Mr. Huth said.
Mr. Huth, a Navy and Army veteran, was diagnosed with a large tumor that was completely blocking his large intestine.
“Get checked if you have problems,” he said.
Colon cancer strikes about 140,000 people a year. A colon cancer screening is recommended for everyone starting at age 50, because it tends to happen more often after that point in life, said Dr. Devalingam Mahalingam, a University Health System medical oncologist and associate professor of medicine at the UT Health Science Center.
But it can strike earlier, and these are symptoms to look for:
- Blood in or on stool
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent stomach aches or cramps
Early diagnosis and treatment can be very effective and the colonoscopy serves the purpose of both screening and prevention, as precancerous polyps can be spotted and removed during the procedure, said Dr. Patrick Pierre, University Health System primary care physician at the Southeast Clinic.
“It can spread to other organs, other parts of the body – and if it does, then it makes it more difficult to treat,” Dr. Pierre said. Your primary care physician can refer you for a colonoscopy.
Photo by Mark Greenberg Photography