March Marks Colorectal Awareness Month - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

March Marks Colorectal Awareness Month

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Last year, Steve Nagel had his first colonoscopy at Sanford Health. And while on the operating table, Doctors discovered something discouraging. 

"Found a tumor. I guess she took out a part of my colon and also the tumor and I started chemo," says Nagel. 

Colorectal cancer usually develops when cancerous polyps form on the colon or rectum. 

"It's a cancer that generally affects patients in their older age-over the age of 50," says Sanford Health oncologist Dr. Vijay Chaudhary. 

So it's important to look out for symptoms like a change in bowl habits, including diarrhea or constipation, feeling that your bowel does not completely empty, or rectal bleeding. 
And, of course, getting that colonoscopy is essential. 

"If those polyps stay in our gut for a long period of time-five years, ten years, fifteen years-those cells continue to divide and multiply abnormally and become cancerous," says  Chaudhary. 

Even though Steve's case is severe, doctors are much more optimistic about colon cancer today than they were a decade ago. 

"Now, even for patients who have involvement of the liver, half of them survive over five years," says Chaudhary. 

So, Steve is staying positive. The prognosis for stage four cancer isn't great, but he says each and every day is another blessing.

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