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Doctors recommend getting cancer screenings earlier

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) - New recommendations from the American Cancer Society say most people should start screening tests for colon and rectal cancers at the age of 45, instead of waiting for age 50. New studies have shown millennials are twice as likely to develop colon cancer and four times as likely to develop rectal cancer. 

Every weekday, you can hear Scotty Preston doing what he loves. He's a radio DJ for 99.9 KLUR. But if it wasn't for an unusual circumstance, Preston would have never known he had colon cancer. 

"The reason why they even found it was I had an infection that developed in my stomach. Went in cause I was having major stomach pains. That's when they actually did a colonoscopy and found that I had a 3 1/2 by 6-centimeter tumor and I was into stage four for colon cancer. I was very fortunate that that happened because I had no plans of even thinking about getting a colonoscopy," Preston said.       

Many different factors go into being diagnosed with colon cancer. If diagnosed at an early stage the doctor can treat it immediately but if it is diagnosed in the later stages the treatment is not that easy. That is why Dr. Ronald Andari and his staff believe early testing is a necessity.

"Life habits and obesity in itself have a huge impact in colon rectal cancer. It's interesting that in 2018 that were expected to diagnose 100,000 people with colon cancer, colon- rectal cancer in the US. 10,000 of those will be in the state of Texas," Andari said. 

Studies show the older you are the higher the chance you may have advanced cancer.

"The results of the study were very compelling in that patients under the age of 55 have over a 50 percent chance of having advanced cancer," Andari said. 

"From every two patients under the age of 55 that are diagnosed with colon-rectal cancer only one will have a chance of curative or definite treatment for their disease," Andari said.  

If the cancer is caught early enough, Andari says the treatment can be quick and simple. 

"Colon cancer is one of those diseases that if it's caught early at an early stage at stage one could have definite endoscopic treatment," Andari said. 

Waiting could cause serious complications.

"If that patient is diagnosed at a later stage the disease may require surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. So, it comes in a whole spectrum and this is why timing is so important," Andari said. 

Luckily for Preston, he caught it early enough. 

"I was really blessed and fortunate that mine hadn't, I don't know what they call that, spread to other parts of my body," Preston said. 

Preston knows how very fortunate he is to be alive, and hopes his story will help others take the steps necessary to help ensure a better life. 

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