The Free Screening That Could Save Your Life
You can lead, follow, or get out of the way. One woman from Gainesville chose to "lead" and that saved her life. Most people don't realize they have colon cancer until they experience symptoms and that can be very dangerous.
TV20's Corrie Lovette reports what one woman did to get her husband tested and why she's happy she did it.
Anna Collins says she heard on TV20 that North Florida Regional Medical Center was giving free colonoscopies last March.
After trying unsuccessfully to convince her husband to go, she decided to lead by example. And that decision saved her life.
She said, "I did it for him, but it turned out to be for me." 62 year old Anna Collins of Gainesville was diagnosed with colon cancer after having a colonoscopy at North Florida last March.
"I was very surprised because I had absolutely no symptoms. And I have a very healthy lifestyle, a very healthy diet. I eat very little meat, lots of fruits and veggies."
On the screen are the results of Anna's colonoscopy. Here you see the normal tissues and here you see the colon cancer that Anna's doctors found.
Dr. Charles Sninsky said, "Here is a patient who is asymptomatic, absolutely no symptoms and she had a pretty far advanced colon cancer that was respectable, able to be treated and she's doing exceedingly well."
Dr. Sninsky says everyone over 50 years old should be screened. And if you have any family history of the disease, then you need to have a colonoscopy 10 years before the relative was diagnosed.
Sninsky says it's a safe, painless outpatient procedure done while under anesthesia. He said, "It's a flexible lighted tube the size of my finger and it has a ccd camera on the tip of it."
Doctors are looking for polyps with the camera. These can be either benign or precancerous and the doctor can often remove them while patients are already asleep for the colonoscopy. Sninsky said, "One could break the cycle, remove the benign lesions before they develop into a cancer."
The risk factors for colon cancer are family history and other inherited gastrointestinal disorders. However, as Collins knows, it can happen to anyone. That's why Collins, who is now cancer free, wants to spread the word about detection. She said, "Even though you do have a healthy diet and lifestyle, you still need to have the colon screening because it could really save your life."
North Florida Regional Medical Center will be giving a free colon screening every day this month. All 31 appointments are filled.
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