Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Early Detection Helps Man Beat Colon Cancer

Early Detection Helps Man Beat Colon Cancer

09/24/10

FRIDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Lee Smith of Marietta, Ga., set himself up with an unusual 50th birthday gift: He scheduled a colonoscopy for a couple of days later.

One of his uncles had died of colon cancer, and his father had died of leukemia when Smith was just 3 years old. "I always had it in my mind that, when I turned 50, I would do this because of my family history," he said.

While he was recovering after the procedure, the doctor came in with some shocking news.

"They found around 75 precancerous polyps, which is an enormous number," Smith, now 51, said. "I was certainly surprised. It was a scary thing. What happened to my father was a lot of the emotional part of this. I grew up without a father, and so the last thing I wanted to do was have my kids grow up without a father."

Doctors usually can remove polyps found during a colonoscopy, making it one of the best cancer-prevention techniques around. But they couldn't remove that many, Smith recounted. He said that he and his doctor began talking that very day about major surgery to remove part of his colon.

A few weeks later, Smith returned for the surgery. "The polyps were not all over my colon, but were concentrated in certain areas," he said. "They cut out two-thirds of my colon, and then reconnected the two ends."

The surgery went fine, he said, but recuperating took a lot of time, starting with an eight-day hospital stay after the surgery. "Basically they shut your system down, and then they have to restart it again," he said. "They have to be convinced that the system is all working again before they will let you go home."

He then spent several months at home fully healing from the surgery. "I've got a 12-inch scar on my belly where they opened me up," he said. "It's very painful, even with the drugs, because of the place of the incision."

But, he added with a chuckle, "it only hurts when you move."

Radiation and chemotherapy were not part of his treatment, Smith said, because the polyps were detected so early. And he remains cancer free.

"I've had one colonoscopy since then," he said. "I had one or two polyps, and they took them out, and everything's fine."

Smith said he considers his colonoscopy and surgery "a case study in preventive medicine."

"If I hadn't done it, I wouldn't be here," he said. "I'm healthy. I'm exercising. The good news in all of this is we caught it early and I'll get to see my kids grow up, which I definitely would not have been able to do otherwise," Lee added.

"I really do consider myself blessed because we found this thing early and cut it out," he said.

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital First in Region to Use New da Vinci Xi Surgical System
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >