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'If colon cancer is found earlier, it is a curable disease' | If you're 45 or older, time to schedule a colonoscopy

WFMY News 2's Julie Luck hopes if you haven't had a screening, you'll get it scheduled now.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — "While I would appreciate a small prayer, the best gift that you can give me is for you to get that colonoscopy that you have been putting off, or make sure to get it when you turn 45 years old," Julie Luck, WFMY News 2 anchor, said.

Julie shared on Tuesday her colon cancer diagnosis on air. Along with her fight, she's made it her mission to make sure people get screened. 

Doctors agree that getting screened and early detection is key.

People most at-risk for getting colon cancer:

  • anyone with a family history
  • someone with irritable bowel syndrome
  • African Americans have a 20% increased risk over white people

Risk factors for colon cancer:

  • smoking
  • drinking
  • obesity
  • diet high in red meat
  • diet low in fruits and vegetables

Symptoms of colon cancer:

  • persistent change in bowel habits
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • blood in stool
  • abdominal pain
  • discomfort
  • cramps

"If it goes on for three or more days and isn't getting better, then that's more concerning," Dr. Alton Sutter, assistant professor of colon and rectal surgery at Atrium Wake Forest Baptist Health said.

Sutter said it's really important for people 45 and older to get a colonoscopy, or if you have any family history or symptoms to consult your doctor about getting one sooner.

"The prep is not pleasant, but the consequences of a missed or late diagnosed colon cancer are much more severe," Sutter said.

He said that if everyone from age 45 to 75 got screened, it would add about 123 days of life for every person screened.

"If colon cancers are found earlier, it is a curable disease. It can (be) resected and patients go on to do very well and live a happy life, minimal to no disability," Sutter said.

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