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University’s Cancer Answer Story February 4, 2010

FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Amy Johnston at 706/828-2397.

University’s Cancer Answer Story:
Nesbitts still going strong after 38 years of marriage, four bouts with cancer

After 38 years of marriage, Robert and Ellen Nesbitt understand for better or for worse; in sickness and in health.

Research shows one out of every six men will be diagnosed with colon cancer, and Mr. Nesbitt underwent treatment for the disease at University Hospital after he became part of that statistic. When Mr. Nesbitt went in for a routine check up, he had no idea what his future would hold. He had no symptoms and felt fine, but was called back to the doctor two days later and given the news.

Colon cancer often has no signs or symptoms, which is why it is so important to follow recommended screening guidelines.

Mrs. Nesbitt remembers getting the news.

“I was surprised, because he had been so healthy, and there was no indication that something was wrong, I never thought that he would get cancer,” especially since she is a three-time cancer survivor herself. Mrs. Nesbitt has overcome ovarian, breast and colon cancer.

Colon cancer is a preventable disease; it begins with a growth that is not yet cancer. Testing can help doctors tell whether there is a problem and some tests can find polyps before they become cancer. Every man and women should have a colonoscopy beginning at age 50. For more information on this story go to www.universityhealth.org/canceranswer or to find a physician to schedule your colonoscopy go to www.universityhealth.org.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines (Men and women, ages 50+)

One of these five testing schedules should be followed. Your physician can help you decide which is best for you:

  • Yearly fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
  • Yearly FOBT or FIT, plus flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
  • Double-contrast barium enema every five years
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years

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