Advanced surgical techniques up colon cancer cure rate

Author: Rachel McNeill, Anchor/Medical Expert, rmcneill@kprc.com
Published On: Mar 22 2013 02:28:51 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 23 2013 08:36:50 AM CDT
HOUSTON -

March is Colon Cancer Awareness month. Screenings are increasingly saving lives and new surgical techniques are revolutionizing treatment, helping stop the cancer in its tracks with a nearly 100-percent cure rate.

Eddy Daniels was only 43 years old when doctors diagnosed him with colon cancer. He had no family history of the disease.

He told Local 2, "I'm really happy to say that at the moment, I'm cancer-free, from the moment that the surgery was complete."

Two years ago, he experienced loss of appetite, felt bloated and unintentionally dropped 20 pounds.

Daniels explained, "I had normal energy. I was going to work. I wasn't taking any sick days, but I had this feeling that something wasn't going right and eating made me uncomfortable, which was unusual. I thought it was an ulcer."

A colonoscopy detected a 9-centimeter cancerous tumor.

Daniels said, "The last thing I expected to hear was that."

Dr. Eric Haas with Colorectal Surgical Associates told Local 2, "The good news with colon cancer is that if we catch it early, it's one of the most curable of all cancers."

Haas performed laproscopic surgery on Daniels. Robotic surgery performed at The Methodist Hospital is another minimally invasive technique that is completely changing how colon cancer is treated.

Haas explained, "So the scar is very small. The recovery is much quicker and what we want to do is not only remove the cancer and cure the patient, but really get them back to their families and their work and their daily living much sooner."

Symptoms of colon cancer include: blood in the stool, changes in bowel habits and abdominal pain.

But Haas warned, "About 80 percent of patients with colon cancer have no symptoms at all. So that's why screening means getting tested before you have symptoms."

People with a family history of colorectal cancers should be screened at age 40. Otherwise, the recommendation is to have your first colonoscopy at age 50 and every 10 years after that.

The Methodist Hospital offered these lifestyle choices which can also reduce your risk of colorectal cancer:

Coffee may reduce the risk of colon cancer

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that drinking coffee may reduce the risk for colon cancer. Researchers analyzed data on 500,000 individuals over an average of 10 years. The study assessed the relationship between coffee consumption and colon and rectal cancer.

In the study, participants who drank an average of four to five cups of coffee a day had a 15 to 25 percent reduced chance of developing colon cancer. It did not seem to matter whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaf. Tea, on the other hand, seemed to have no impact on colon cancer risk.