Men's Health, Women's Health, Your Health Ben Brown | 8 years ago

One Colonoscopy, One Life Saved.

As a pre-op nurse at Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy, Mirtha Babcock, RN, knew all the risk factors associated with colon cancer, but still had a hard time believing in the facts, at least when it came to her health. “Regular screenings are important and can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer by 90 percent,” said Tom Pacicco, MD, a gastroenterologist at Carolinas HealthCare System's Charlotte Medical Clinic. Mirtha delayed scheduling her colonoscopy even though she was over 50 years old, putting her within the recommended age range to start receiving regular colonoscopies for preventive care. But when her sister turned 50, Mirtha had no trouble encouraging her to schedule an appointment. Luckily, her sister listened, because the colonoscopy revealed colon cancer. Still, it took seven more years for Mirtha to schedule her own colonoscopy procedure. “It was very hard for me to convince myself,” she said. “I just never thought I could have colon cancer, so I just kept putting the colonoscopy off.” [tagline_box backgroundcolor="" shadow="no" shadowopacity="0.1" border="3px" bordercolor="" highlightposition="left" link="" linktarget="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" buttoncolor="red" button="Take a Free Risk Assessment" title="How Do I Know If I'm At Risk?" description="If you have a family history (child, sibling or parent) of colon cancer or polyps, or are over 50 years old, you are at higher risk for colon cancer and should get a colonoscopy. " animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1"][/tagline_box] Eventually, Mirtha did schedule a colonoscopy with Dr. Pacicco and, while the procedure itself was quick and easy, what it revealed was a large cancerous tumor– just like her sister’s. “If I had waited any longer, the cancer would have spread,” said Mirtha. Initially Mirtha was devastated by the news, but was comforted by Dr. Pacicco, who took the time to listen to her fears and compassionately explain the treatment process moving forward. Mirtha had surgery at Levine Cancer Institute to remove the tumor and is now cancer-free. These days she’s feeling great, and she continues to get regular colonoscopies to make sure the cancer doesn’t come back.