Actor Chadwick Boseman’s death from colon cancer at age 43 shocked many. Sadly, the “Black Panther” star is only one example of the increase in colon cancer cases in younger patients.
The rise in diagnoses has led the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force to lower the recommended age for colonoscopy screenings to 45.
Throughout June — Men’s Health Month — SMC’s goal is to educate men about ways to prevent health issues with early detection.
SMC Gastroenterologist Henry Ho, MD, recently discovered one of his patients had numerous pre-cancerous polyps in his colon.
“What a fool I was,” said the 65-year-old Penns Grove man. “I could have taken care of everything if I’d had a colonoscopy earlier.”
The man first dealt with a cancerous mass found after he began experiencing rectal bleeding. The mass was removed surgically and after 28 radiation treatments along with chemotherapy, he was cancer -free.
Then at age 62, his colonoscopy showed two pre-cancerous polyps which were removed, and in March 2021, he had four removed, preventing more cancer.
“I would recommend a colonoscopy with Dr. Ho to any man, no matter how tough he thinks he is,” he said. “I was a corrections officer. I lifted weights and raced cars. It doesn’t matter. Get your colonoscopy.”
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers among both men and women.
“When detected early with a colonoscopy, polyps can be removed, preventing them from becoming colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Ho.
Colorectal cancer has no symptoms which is why colonoscopy screenings are so important, especially for those age 45 and older.
“Colorectal cancer can strike at any age if the patient has a history of polyps or a family history of colorectal cancer,” he said. “Colonoscopy is the best way to find precancerous polyps and stop the cancer in its tracks.”
Schedule a colonoscopy by calling 856-832-4359 or visit smc.health/colonoscopy/ for more information.