MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and cause of cancer deaths world wide. Chadwick Boseman died from it just weeks ago at the age of 43.
Sometimes it takes a tragedy to get our attention. But colon cancer already had News 13’s Aaron Rhody’s attention. At 35 he had a colonoscopy at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital.
“With certainty I could say that you were going to develop colon cancer,” said Dr. Sebastian Abadie, a gastroenterologist at Tidelands Waccamaw, “if you didn’t go for a colonoscopy that time.”
It’s the c-word we all hate to hear, cancer. For Aaron Rhody, it was blended in with a couple other words pre-cancerous polyps. As Dr. Abadie explains, Rhody was still a few steps off from actual colon cancer, but still, close enough.
“There is a sequence of changes from a normal colon into colon cancers,” said Dr. Abadie. “You go from a normal colon to a pre-cancerous colon with a polyp, called adenoma. And then advanced pre-cancerous. And then going into colon cancer. So advanced precancerous is the stage prior to developing colon cancer. So this case, specifically your case, you had two large pre-cancerous polyps.”
According to the Journal Molecular Oncology, since the mid‐2000s, reports of colon cancer in the U.S. have decreased by 2–3% per year. This reduction is because of more people getting screened before it’s too late. But since 1994 colon cancer in people younger than 50 has been increasing by 2% per year.
“The problem is the actual screening colonoscopies starts at age 50,” said Dr. Abadie. “So patients that they have the symptoms at the early stage are not seeking attention.”
Rhody was feeling what he described as extreme fatigue. Where he could fall asleep anywhere at anytime. And he was having different digestive issues.
“Well specifically Aaron, I don’t know if you remember when you came, but you had symptoms at that time that were off for you,” said Abadie. “You started feeling fatigue, feeling tired, definitely you noticed some changes in your bowel habits. Those are some of the factors, symptoms that we need to investigate what is the reason for that.”
As Rhody and Dr. Abadie stressed, if anything seems off, investigate, get it checked out. And don’t be scared to get a colonoscopy it’s an easy process that can save your life. To prevent something late, do something early.