Colorectal cancer screenings save lives. In fact, nearly 60 percent of
colorectal cancer deaths could have been prevented with a screening, according
to the National Cancer Institute.
Lorraine Missick, resident of La Verne, and 17-year Volunteer at Pomona
Valley Hospital Medical Center, couldn't agree more. A screening saved
her life, too.
Years ago, at 68 years old, both her primary care physician, Dr. Duane
Styles, and her husband would encourage her at each checkup to get a screening.
Lorraine would disregard the advice each time; she felt that "if
it ain't broke, don't fix it."
It wasn't until one afternoon when she experienced a little bleeding,
that she decided to finally take her doctor's advice. During her colonoscopy,
performed by Dr. Dwaraknath P. Reddy, Lorraine was told that a potentially
malignant polyp had been found. A polyp is a noncancerous growths that
develops on the inner lining of the colon or rectum and can grow for up
to 10-20 years.* As polyps continue to grow, their chances of becoming
cancerous also grow - nearly all cases of colorectal cancer begin with
the development of polyps.
As a precaution, Dr. Reddy determined that a biopsy would need to be done
to remove the polyp.
A few months later, Lorraine had her biopsy. It was at this time she was
told that the polyp was indeed cancerous. However, additional testing
found that since she was in the early stages of cancer, and all of the
cancer had been contained in the removed polyp, she was now cancer free!
Lorraine says she feels so fortunate that she didn't have to go through
additional treatment for her cancer, such as chemotherapy or radiation,
and credits her colorectal screening with saving her life. She is now
an advocate for constant and early screenings.
"It's a gift you owe to yourself, it's peace of mind,"
says Lorraine. "Even if this type of cancer doesn't run in your
family, just do it. When it comes to colorectal screenings, I think people
have a fear of the unknown, but it's really, really not that bad.
There's little preparation needed...and then at the hospital, one
moment you're falling asleep and the next moment it's all over."
Lorraine, now 77-years-old, says she goes in for a colorectal cancer screening
every 2-3 years, and has been cancer free for nine years.
Have you scheduled your screening yet?
*Sources: National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Center for
Disease Control & Prevention