Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: Local men urging others to get screenings when needed

Health Check

ONAGA, Kan. (KSNT) – March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a type of cancer that is estimated to affect 149,500 Americans in 2021 according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

Receiving screenings like a colonoscopy or Cologuard test will help catch the cancer early, or even prevent it according to Dr. David Allen with the Community HealthCare System in Onaga.

“The most common symptom associated with colorectal cancer is no symptoms,” Allen said. “That is what makes it very important to have screenings done.”

George Haskin received a life-saving colonoscopy from Allen in 2010.

“If I hadn’t had that colonoscopy in 2010, we might not have found the cancer in my appendix,” Haskin said. “So, I might not be here today talking about it.”

Gary Sorensen, another patient of Allen’s, knew he needed to be screened for colorectal cancer due to his family history of the disease.

When he began the screenings 20 years ago, Allen found multiple polyps- small clumps of cells- in his colon that can develop into cancer. Allen quickly removed them.

“I can only imagine if we wouldn’t have done it 20 years ago, what it would have turned out as a… 69 and a half-year-old man,” Sorensen said.

Cases such as Haskin’s and Sorensen’s are why doctors urge people to not put off receiving screenings.

People should begin them getting them at the age of 45, or if they have family who had colorectal cancer. It should be 10 years before the age their relative was diagnosed, according to Allen.

“If you sit back and you look at the risks associations with not having it done, they are significantly larger,” Allen said. “Just not doing it is not really an option.”

In the end, it could end up saving your life.

“It made me feel like I was lucky to be alive,” Haskin said.

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