74°F
weather icon Clear

Screening for colon cancer vital

Are you 50? It’s time to get tested and prevent colorectal cancer.

When she was 55 years old, Valerie B. made a promise to a total stranger. It may have saved her life.

“I was sitting in the doctor’s office for a mammogram,” the Atlanta woman said. “There was a lady there who said she recently learned she had colon cancer. I knew nothing about it; nobody had ever told me to go get a colon test done. That woman in the doctor’s office urged me to get tested. I promised her I would. And I did.”

She made an appointment right away. During the test, Valerie’s doctor found and removed six polyps (abnormal growths) in her colon. Three were precancerous, meaning there was a good chance they could have turned into cancer if they had not been removed.

“The doctor was really glad I was there,” she said. “He said ‘Why did you wait so long?'”

Screening is recommended for men and women beginning at 50 and continuing until 75. Among men and women combined, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be. Screening helps prevent the disease by finding polyps, so they can be removed before they ever turn into cancer.

Polyps don’t always cause symptoms, so you may not know you have them. That is why getting a screening test is so important.

For 52-year-old Randy Talley, the path to screening was different, but the results were similar. His doctor strongly recommended that he get checked for colorectal cancer when he was 50. Polyps ran in his family — his mother had them — and both Randy and his mother had irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that can raise a person’s risk of getting colorectal cancer. Plus, he was at the age when screening is recommended.

It turned out that Randy had five polyps, all in an early, noncancerous stage. They were removed.

“This testing is recommended for a good reason,” the Washington, D.C., resident said. “You either experience a little discomfort with the test now, or you could face something a lot worse later in life, if you get colon cancer. So if you’re 50 or older, my advice is to get screened now. I am completely glad I got screened.”

There are several screening tests options. These include colonoscopy, high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing, and sigmoidoscopy. If you’re 50 or older, talk to your doctor about which is right for you.

Several of these screening tests are available at Boulder City Hospital. Call 702-293-4111 to schedule an appointment and for more information.

Valerie, now 60, is a cheerleader for getting screened.

“After my colonoscopy, all I did that year was talk to people and tell my story. I found that five family members over 50 weren’t tested. I begged them to go, and they all went.”

To learn more about colorectal cancer and screening, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign.

For information on CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program, which provides screening and follow-up care to low-income men and women in several states and tribes call 800-CDC-INFO.

Most insurance plans and Medicare also cover screening without a deductible or co-pay.

To Your Health is written by the staff of Boulder City Hospital. For more information, call 702-293-4111, ext. 576, or visit bouldercityhospital.org.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Some more new slang words to remember

This week we will dip our toes into this year’s English slang and a whole new generation of words to keep up with:

Hospital given two defibrillator monitors

Boulder City Hospital recently received two LIFEPAK 12 defibrillator monitors valued at more than $5,000 from Samuel Scheller, CEO of Guardian Elite Medical Services.

Locals receive COVID vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out in Boulder City this week despite distribution issues reported throughout the country.

BC Guard member helps save D.C. crash victim

A U.S. Army captain from Boulder City recently lived out the National Guards’ motto of “Always Ready, Always There” when she helped save a woman’s life while she was out buying coffee and supplies for her unit.

Vaccine questions answered

Boulder City Hospital adheres to federal, state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for the distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. Due to the limited quantity available of the newly developed vaccine, a tiered system has been implemented and identifies vulnerable populations to be immunized.

Officer’s calm demeanor deceptive

This series of day-in-the-life stories provides a candid look behind the scenes of the Boulder City police officers who protect and serve Boulder City.

Vaccines will help fight coronavirus

Many community members may remember standing in long lines at their elementary school, local armory or high school gymnasium in the early 1960s to receive the Sabin oral polio vaccine, drinking a red liquid from a tiny paper cup, that immunized millions, helped to eradicate polio, and is included on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.

K-9 units double the duty

This series of day-in-the-life of stories provides a candid look behind the scenes of the Boulder City police officers who protect and serve Boulder City.

 
Crash was ‘worst thing;’ five killed, driver charged with DUI

Michael Anderson was pedaling alongside some of his closest friends Dec. 10 on a stretch of highway near Searchlight, surrounded by miles of open desert, when a box truck plowed into the group of nearly 20 bicyclists and their safety escort vehicle.