You've probably seen a sign or heard an advertisement: March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. One local doctor wanted to take campaign to the next level to help beat the deadly disease.
Cancer survivor Reggie Bell says, “I know we hate going to the doctor and getting checked out, but it could save your life."
He says a trip to the doctor saved his life eleven years ago. He says, "I just had real bad stomach cramps."
The then 45-year old says it took months to figure out what was wrong. But, because of his symptoms, his doctor performed a colonoscopy in August of 2001. He says, "They found a tumor the size of a 50 cent piece that went through all 3 layers of my colon."
Bell had stage three colon cancer. He spent six days in the hospital. Now, the survivor says he feels great and is getting an army ready to help beat the deadly disease. He will participate in the first Des Moines Colon Cancer Awareness Run & Walk this Saturday. He says, "I truly am excited about this walk and run."
Dr. Nagendra Myneni says, "It's a run to bring awareness to colon cancer. As you know, colon cancer is the 2nd most common cancer death in Iowa."
Dr. Myneni is organizing the event that will start in front of the Iowa Digestive Disease Center in Clive. He says, "We want to organize it to raise funds. And, we will be using those to donate to local charities that are working for the same cause."
He says the race will also help raise awareness of the cancer. He says, "Mainly the money we raise from this race will go back to raise awareness for colon cancer and how it is important for them to have screening."
Dr. Myneni says everyone should get a colonoscopy at age fifty and sooner if you have a family history or symptoms like stomach pain or a change in your bowel movements. He says you have to prepare for the screening the night before, the actual procedure only takes about fifteen minutes. He says, "It's still a very simple test. And, once it is negative, if you don't have any polyps or anything, you would not need another one for ten years."
Bell says he's thankful he had the procedure. He says, "The biggest thing is go to the doctor, if you're fifty years old, go to the doctor and get checked out."
Registration for The Des Moines Colon Cancer Awareness Run & Walk starts at 7 Saturday morning. The race is at 9 a.m. About 250 people are signed up already. You can find more information on the colon run website.