You don't hear much about colon cancer, but it is the second leading cancer killer in this country and it'll claim 4000 lives in Florida this year.
Ten thousand Floridians will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year. Men, women, black, white, Hispanic, it does not discriminate.
It's one of the most curable cancers there is, but testing for it isn't pleasant and the idea of inserting a tiny camera where the sun don't shine makes some people recoil in horror.
"I call it the yuck factor. It's not the most pleasant thing to talk about for some people, and then it's fear, fear of the preparation, fear of the procedure, will it hurt? It's fear of what they'll find if they find something," says Dr. James Stockwell, a gastroenterologist.
If you have a case of posterior paranoia, Foy Thompson is among the first to tell you to get over it. His wife pushed him to take a stool sample, which ultimately led doctors to a cherry size tumor in his colon.
"It's quite a life changing mood for you when the doctor calls and tells you you have a carcinoma and you need to get your affairs in order at home as well as at work," says Foy.
Foy didn't have a family history of colon cancer or any of the telltale symptoms. Blood in the stool, bleeding from the rectum, any noticeable change in bowel habits, either constipation or diarrhea, cramping and fatigue.
Foy's cancer was caught early. It's 90 percent curable when it is. Foy has had a clean bill of health for five years now, but without a change in doctors, and prodding from his wife Janice, Foy admits things could be different.
"Never been in the hospital, 50 years old and never been in the hospital in my life, not feeling bad, no indications in any way, and if you hadn't had this test done, then you probably wouldn't have been talking to me today."
The good news is that colon cancer is highly curable. Ninety-percent curable in fact if it’s caught in its early stages, but people are afraid to get tested and only about a third of the cancers are found that early.
If colon cancer is found in its later stages, the chance of surviving five years is 63 percent among whites, 53 percent among African Americans, and if it has made its way to your liver or lungs, your chances of survival plummet to nine percent.
Most People Don't Screen
Source: http://www.ccalliance.org/index.html (The Colon Cancer Alliance Web Site)