Jacksonville Doctor: Colon Cancer Doesn't Have To Kill So Many People

Mar 3, 2016

Credit Michael McCollough via Flikr

It’s predicted 10,000 Floridians will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year. But the deadly disease is still considered very preventable.

Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic Dr. Ken DeVault chairs the internal medicine department. He says he recently had to tell a patient: It’s colon cancer.

“I didn’t tell them this—I didn’t want them to feel bad—but I felt like, if they’d have just come eight years sooner, they wouldn’t have been dealing with it,” he says.

Colonoscopies every five or 10 years should start at age 50, he says, or at 45 for African-Americans, who seem to be at risk younger.  Precancerous polyps can be removed during the procedure.

And for people with family histories of colorectal cancer, they should start screenings when they’re 10 years younger than the family member was at diagnosis.

DeVault says colon cancer is the No. 2 killer among cancers, but it’s very curable when caught early.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.