Wabash Valley doctor stresses importance of potentially life saving screening

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – It’s the second-leading cancer killer. We’re talking about colon cancer.

But sixty percent of deaths could be avoided if people take one important step.

There’s a model in Dr. Rajiv Sharma’s office that shows polyps and tumors in a colon.

Nurse Melodie Quick’s husband went in to have his screened and the results weren’t what they were expecting.

“He had no symptoms, no pain, nothing,” Quick said. “And so he was busy, he put it off, so at 51 he had his screening. And on the screening colonoscopy we found colon cancer.”

Sharma, a gastroenterologist says not having symptoms is typical of colon cancer.

He warns that education about colon screenings is key.

“See what people have to understand is that when you turn 50, you should get a colonoscopy period,” Sharma said. “And if you have a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps, then you should talk to your doctor and see when you should get a colonoscopy.”

A family history of other cancers should act as a warning to get a colonoscopy.

Sharma says getting a colon cancer diagnosis isn’t a death sentence.

He adds that it’s a group effort in achieving a cure.

“When I say multidisciplinary approach, I always mean the patient and the patient’s family, gastroenterologist, surgeon, and the cancer doctor,” Sharma said. “Together, we can beat cancer.”

However the hope is to prevent the cancer at all.

That comes in the form of the colonoscopy.

Quick urges everybody to take action.

“Take care of yourself,” Quick said. “You have to stop and take a minute to say hey. You know, read up. Be knowledgeable of that. And if you don’t know ask your primary care physician. They’re very good about knowing when you should have a mammogram when you should have your colonoscopy.”

For more information on health screenings at Dr. Sharma’s office you can visit his website.

The Centers for Disease Control also has more information on the topic.