Doctors and survivors are urging Mississippians to get checked for colon cancer in their early adult years. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports on new medical guidelines released this week.
The American Cancer Society is recommending all adults get screened for colon and rectal cancer starting at age forty-five. In previous years, the recommendation was age fifty, depending on your risk level.
Mark Guillotte is a colon cancer survivor. The Gautier resident says he wishes he would've gotten screened sooner.
"Everybody's telling you fifty, fifty, fifty get these colonoscopies done and um, I'm a big advocate on getting them done at forty because this tumor had been in me ten years so basically it started in me since I was thirty-four. So, if I could've caught it at four years ago it probably would've been a whole lot easier on me and saved me a lot of headache and hassle in the long run," said Guillette
Experts say the new guidelines come on the heels of a rise in colorectal cancer rates and deaths among younger adults.
Dr. James Sones is the Chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He says colon cancer is highly preventable but less than 70 percent of adults in Mississippi are getting checked.
"Mississippi still lags behind the rest of the nation in the percentage of people getting screened. There's no doubt that screening saves lives. Screenings reveal small polyp lesions that could turn into cancer that are removed. Therefore, that particular person doesn't suffer colon cancer," said Sones.
Guillote says he is fortunate that doctors could remove the cancerous tumor from his colon area. Unfortunately, he says he lost his rectum, his colon and a number of friends to colorectal cancer.
In the U.S., colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.