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LeAnne Taylor: It’s a topic that may make you a little bit uncomfortable but it is a very real and very serious concern. Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in men and women with more than 100,000 new cases diagnosed each year. To help people better understand the problem Cancer Treatment Centers of America is hosting a special exhibit today. Dr. Leon Yoder is a gastroenterologist and he joins us from CTCA with more on the super colon. Good morning!
Dr. Leon Yoder: Good morning.
LeAnne Taylor: Thanks so much for spending a little time with us. Share with us the important of exhibits like this as they go across the country.
Dr. Leon Yoder: Well we hope this exhibit today is going to be very influential for many people. In fact we are having school kids coming later today to look at the colon, it’s a super colon, they can walk through this but it’s also going to be open up to the public later today and we are going to talk this evening about how we can help people overcome the colon cancer, which is you know, you just mentioned it – is a very common cause for cancer in this country.
We feel that colon cancer now today can be completely eliminated if we use the proper preventive techniques and if we could use a proper screening. This is what we are going to talk about all day today.
LeAnne Taylor: And when you talk about the screenings, we are looking at colitis and some of the diseases that are associated with the colon, the concern of polyps and the diseases that can form in the colon, what kinds of information do you think is vital to get out to these people and what are some of those screening techniques that you are recommending?
Dr. Leon Yoder: Well most colon cancers don’t have any fore warning signs at all. There are also no diseases, particularly for causing most types of colon cancer. That means that we are all at risk for developing colon cancer in our lifetime. In fact we have about a six percent chance of developing colon cancer some time in our lifetime. That means one out of 16 persons are going to develop a colon cancer. So even average risk, which starts at age 50, we need to be aware of that. Even though we have no symptoms at all we have to start taking care looking at our colons through colonoscopies barium enemas and so forth. By this way we can start eliminating some of the problems that precede colon cancer such as colon polyps.
LeAnne Taylor: What are some of the early warning signs that patient should be aware of?
Dr. Leon Yoder: Some of the warning signs is if you have any lower GI bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, that is probably one of the first signs that you may be very critical of looking at a little more seriously and if you have any change in your bowel habits, say for instance your bowel habits changed after a long period of time you have been going regularly and all of a sudden they changed – that means that you may become constipated or you may have diarrhea or you may have abdominal pain that is something new and is lasting. These are some of the signs that you may want to look at and have investigated further for colon cancer.
LeAnne Taylor: What role does family history play in colon cancer?
Dr. Leon Yoder: Well we know some of the cancers are transmitted through genetic reasons. For instance, if you have first-degree family members – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, who have had colon cancer or colon polyps you are at increased risk for developing colon cancer, even more than the average person that doesn’t have that family history. So you have to be aware that if you do have that in your background you may even want to start colon cancer screening early. Say for instance, may be at 40 years of age.
LeAnne Taylor: Now you all are having this exhibit today, as you mentioned before, some school students coming through but also tonight it’s open to the public and I want to give some details on that. Dr. Yoder, we appreciate your time and we want to encourage patients that if they do feel that they have any symptoms or signs or concerns that they should talk with their primary care doctor before and then going on to see a specialist, if necessary.
The Super Colon will be there tonight at the Cancer Treatment Centers. Six to eight, it is free and you can go through Cancer Treatment Centers of America at 81st and highway 169. Dr. Yoder will be on hand for that presentation.