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Know your risk for colorectal cancer

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.(WVLT News)
Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 10:29 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 150,000 new cases will be diagnosed every year and approximately 53,200 Americans die of CRC.

Knoxville’s Michael Holtz was diagnosed with the disease in 2012. After 11 months of treatment, he has been cancer-free for nine years.

“They determined it was a stage IIIB tumor, and the protocol that I went through for treatment is fairly standard for stage IIIB but and I didn’t know this until about a year after it’s an extreme. There’s an 80% chance of recurrence, within the first two years of diagnosis, and I got through that first two years and didn’t have a recurrence, which is a miracle and when my surgeon would tell me, you know you’re not supposed to be here right now, right, because people with stage IIIB rectal cancer often have recurrences and don’t make it in the recurrence,” said Holtz.

Gastrointestinal Associates in Knoxville have reported that healthy patients with no symptoms or family history can have their first colonoscopy at age 45-50. People who have symptoms or any family history may need a screening earlier.

“After my last colonoscopy, I got put on the five-year plan, which was great. So, and I haven’t had a PET scan or a CT scan in a while but there hasn’t been any activity I get bloodwork done every year. Look at the tumor marker numbers and everything’s good. Everything’s great,” said Holtz.

Eating a high fiber diet, avoiding a high-fat diet, red and processed meat, avoiding smoking tobacco, avoiding excessive alcohol intake, staying active and avoiding obesity can help prevent cancer.

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