"Put the pride aside, get checked out": Life saving message from young colon cancer survivor

Posted at 5:44 PM, Jun 06, 2018

In recent years the possibility of colon cancer has become very serious for middle aged men. 

"In the 55 and older age group the rates of colon cancer have gone down," Roswell Park Dr. Patrick Boland said, "but in the younger than 55 (age group) rates of colon cancer are going up."

This growth of colon cancer in men younger than 55 is why the American Cancer Society recently recommended making the age to get a colonoscopy be lowered from 50 to 45. 

"A colonoscopy is something that is generally very safe and typically not uncomfortable" Dr. Boland said.

Getting men to actually visit the doctor is not an easy task according to doctors at Roswell Park. 

"Men do not like to think about their health, they like to think about the NBA Playoffs ... but they really don't care too much about their health" Dr. Tom Schwaab said. 

According to Schwaab, this type of attitude needs to stop, because a lot of male related cancers like Colon, Testicular, and Prostate are quite treatable if found early. 

"The earlier we diagnose them the higher the chance for the cancer to be treatable," Dr. Schwaab said, "and for the man to be cured."

Symptoms very depending on the type of cancer, with often times no difference being felt. 

"The most common thing is to not experience anything actually." Patrick Boland

It is something that happened to Kevin Hays. At 28 he did not realize some of the symptoms he had were signs of colon cancer. 

"It came out of nowhere from my point of view because I wasn't paying attention to things that could have been symptoms" Hays said. 

It was not until he got a colonoscopy where he realized his diagnosis. 

"On my circumstances, there's a very good chance that I would have been diagnosed with stage four," Hays said, "or I would have been dead before I went to go get scanned again."

Getting tested saved Hays' life, so he has some advice to anyone that believes they don't need to get checked for colon cancer. 

"Put the pride aside and go and get checked."

Roswell doctors suggest anyone who might have questions regarding Colon, Testicular, Prostate, or any other types of cancer screening to contact Roswell at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355). 

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