Green Bay, Wisconsin (WFRV) March is colorectal cancer awareness month. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths of cancers that affect both men and women in the U.S. In 2010, more than 52-thousand people in the U.S. died of colorectal cancer.
More than ninety percent of people diagnosed are 50 or older. But, as 37 year old Leslie Bielawski knows, it can strike at any age.
"I'm going through chemo right now. And I have my good days and bad days, but otherwise I feel great, " Says Leslie Bielawski, Colon Cancer Survivor.
About 6 months ago, "I started noticing blood in my stool," said Leslie.
Leslie thought it was a hemorrhoids, a problem she has had multiple times including when each of her children were born.
But the bleeding didn't go away, "Finally, I was 'this is enough', they were starting to be a nuisance in my life," explained Leslie.
So her family doctor sent her to Dr. Erik Johnson at Aurora BayCare Medical Center.
"Luckily, she spoke to her doctor about it. There were some things in her story that were a little different than just regular hemorrhoid bleeding. And so we investigated things further," said Dr. Johnson.
Leslie was given a colonoscopy, "In her case there was a mass that was identified about two feet up inside here colon and we took samples or biopsies of that mass and it was found to be a cancer," explained Dr. Johnson.
Leslie's hemorrhoids had been blocking the symptoms of her stage three colon cancer. Dr. Johnson performed surgery to remove the tumor.
With no history of colon cancer in her family and her age Leslie was surprised by her diagnosis.
"I was in shock, I didn't believe it," said Leslie.
Dr. Johnson says here are warning signs to look for. Including change in bowel habits, weight loss, a feeling of pressure, distention or bleeding. Any one of those things or those things together call all be symptoms of cancer," explained Dr. Johnson.
Leslie is lucky she noticed some signs and went to the doctor, "In this case it was a life saving discussion she had with her doctor," explained Dr. Johnson.
Colorectal cancer can be detected early and treated successfully.
Guidelines recommended those with a regular risk get their first colonoscopy at age fifty and then every ten years. Those with a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors should get one every five years.
To learn more you can call Aurora BayCare at 866-938-0035 or email firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com