El Paso surgeon says more people should be getting screened for colon cancer


American cancer society has started to recommend people get screened for colon cancer at age 45.

Dr. Avery Walker, a colorectal surgeon at Las Palmas Medical Center, says there should be no consideration of age if you start seeing symptoms.

Walker shared a couple of reasons why he believes people aren't coming in to be screened for colon cancer.

He says people freak out of the idea of having a colonoscopy.

He also says some people don't even know they're experiencing symptoms.

Saying it's easy to identify and treat.

The El Paso Department of Public Health for numbers in El Paso County.

These latest findings are from the Texas Cancer Registry, over 4 years from 2010-2014.

They show 50 percent more men are being diagnosed with the illness than women.

The American Cancer Society now recommends screenings start at 45.

Walker says it doesn't matter or if you're a man or a woman.

He says even if you don't have a family history of colon cancer, when symptoms arise you should see your health careprovider immediately.

"Most of the patients that I see will come in and have no clue and most people don't have any idea until it's too late," says Walker.

He says he is also finding younger patients with colon cancer, and he says when he sees it in younger folks it tends to be slightly more aggressive than in the older people.

Walker says there are symptoms and risk factors you should look out for.

Those symptoms include rectal bleeding, constipation, changes in their stool habits, weight loss and anemia.

Seeing these symptoms should prompt you to see a health care provider.

The earlier the better.

Walker says, "They are getting the idea that they need to start getting screened, so we catch it earlier."

"Younger folks may not really care so much about the symptoms of bleeding or constipation they may think it's normal and then show up later with the disease," says Walker.

Other risk factors to keep in mind are smoking and alcohol use.

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