HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and a good a time as any to educate yourself. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers.
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"It is a bad way to die. And that's what makes it even worse, that it is so preventable." Those sobering words from Crestwood Medical Center Gastroenterologist Brad Rice, who says the second most common cancer among men and women in the U.S. is detectable, preventable and treatable -- but not if you're still making excuses.
"We want to be really aggressive with this. You can be completely asymptomatic; you can be healthy. I've had a number of patients that have no symptoms, do everything, run every day, are very health conscious and end up having very advanced colon cancer," warns Rice.
If you or someone you love remain hung up on the colonoscopy, Dr. Rice has some words of encouragement.
"The colonoscopy itself is a piece of cake -- you just sleep through it, essentially. The worst part is the prep and the prep lasts one evening. So, with one evening of not getting very good sleep and a lot of diarrhea, you can save your life."
And that alone, he says, is the only reason you need to commit to preventative measures.
Doctor Rice says everyone should have a colonoscopy by 50 years of age, and ten years earlier if you have a family history of colon or colorectal cancer.
Click here for more information and resources from The American Cancer Society.