Colon Cancer is currently the second most common cause of cancer death in men and the third in women.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and doctors say everyone 50 years old and older needs to get screened.
Thursday we followed News 3's own Jon Boaz into the doctor's office to get an up close look at how a colonoscopy is done.
Boaz's journey begins like most other patients, in the waiting room filling out paper work. Minutes later, Jon's name is called and a nurse comes and takes him down the hallway.
After Jon settles into his room, and looks at the gown he has to put on, he discusses his primary reason for wanting to have the procedure done.
"I think it all stems from making people aware of Colorectal cancer. A lot of people don't want to talk about it," Boaz said. "It's one of those things that's almost taboo."
"Morning. Good to see you. I'm Dr. Gray, I'll be doing your procedure today," Dr. Brent Gray says as he walks into the room to meet Jon.
"Anybody in you family have polyps or colon cancer," Gray asked.
"No, no history of colon cancer," Boaz replied.
Although he's not a big fan of needles, Jon braves a few before getting wheeled off for the procedure.
Minutes later he drifts off into a soft slumber, as the doctor gets an up close look at the inside of Jon's colon.
"Most of the time we're looking for lesions that are the precursor for colon cancer," Gray said. "These are called polyps, and by removing them we can prevent colon cancer."
About 12 minutes into Jon's 15 minute procedure, Dr. Gray spots a potentially cancerous polyp.
"I would say approximately 20 percent, maybe less have colon polyps. We run electric current through the wire and that will cut the polyp and cauterize it," Gray said.
Although it looks big inside the colon, once it's out it's actually quite small. The polyp, about the size of a small seed, is placed into a container and sent off for testing.
Moments later the procedure finishes, and Jon wakes up.
"Hey, how are you," Dr. Gray asks.
"Good," Boaz replies.
"You did good. You had one little polyp which we took out. It didn't look like it was a problem at all," Gray told Boaz.
"How common is it to find one," Boaz asked. "You're pretty young, so for you to have polyps is kind of unusual," Gray said.
Unusual or not, Jon is glad to have the procedure done to make sure cancer doesn't sneak up where he least expects it.
Dr. Gray tells Jon, "call me if you have any trouble".
A call Jon will be making in about a week when the final test results from the polyp are expected in.
Colon Cancer kills more than 50,000 people each and every year, that's why early detection, such as having a colonoscopy is so important.
Just in case you're wondering what you can do to prevent polyps from forming in your colon, doctors say a well-rounded diet, and one that is high in fiber goes a long way.
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