Colonoscopy Catches Colon Cancer Early

Maryanne D. Kenderkine from Reading, California has been using hemoccult tests for many years to screen herself for colon cancer. A hemoccult test checks for blood in the stool.  The self-imposed tests never indicated that she had a problem. In 2001, her gynaecologist detected that there was blood in her stool and the assumption was that it was only her haemorrhoids acting up.  To be sure, Maryanne made an appointment for a colonoscopy with her doctor, Dr. Kenneth D. Emkey, a gastroenterologist in West Reading, California.

At the age of 56, this was her first colonoscopy. The screening showed that she had a tumor which was subsequently removed after diagnosis. Maryanne is now 67 years of age and is fortunate to have caught the colon cancer at an early stage. Maryanne had surgery to remove the tumor and was in the hospital frequently for months to fully eradicate the cancer cells.

She made a scrapbook of her thoughts and experiences which she calls her “cancer Bible”. This was her documentation of the details and treatment that she got from the doctors at Reading Hospital.

The cancer complications and the subsequent therapies she had to undergo forced her stop working as a social worker. Now that she has recovered, she is spending time volunteering her services at the Reading Hospital and the St. Joseph Medical Center.  The colonoscopy screening saved Maryanne’s life and she now strongly advocates that others undergo the screening as well.  Her daughter, Michelle, underwent colonoscopy at the much earlier age of 39.  During her colonoscopy, polyps were found and then removed.

The recommended age for colonoscopy is 50 for those who have no family history of colon cancer. For those who have a disposition to colon cancer, the recommended age for the screening is 10 years prior to the age that a family member was diagnosed with cancer.  Michelle would have had those polyps for several years and they would have become a risk had she not agreed to the screening at an early age. The colonoscopy procedure very likely saved Michelle’s life.

Maryanne has had no recurrence of polyp growths for the past several years. Dr. Emkey considers her case closed and cured. Maryanne’s case was also motivation for her relatives and friends to have colonoscopies themselves. 

Maryanne and her husband, Floyd, believe that many potential colonoscopy patients dread the preparatory phase which cleanses the bowels with laxatives. Fasting is also undergone prior to the screening.  Many fear being uncomfortable throughout the screening. 

Colon cancer symptoms do not show until the polyps become cancerous or until the condition is no longer curable.  This is the reason why colonoscopy and early diagnosis is so important. Colonoscopy is the best way to detect the polyps though there are recent tests available now.