Rachel McNeill, KPRC-TV
HOUSTON, Texas (KPRC) - March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.
Screenings are increasingly saving lives, and new surgical techniques are revolutionizing treatment, helping stop the cancer in its tracks with a nearly 100 percent cure rate.
Eddy Daniels was only 43 when doctors diagnosed him with colon cancer.
He had no family history of the disease.
Two years ago, he experienced a loss of appetite, felt bloated, and unintentionally dropped 20 pounds.
"I had normal energy, I was going to work, I wasn't taking any sick days, but I had this feeling that something wasn't going right and eating made me uncomfortable which was unusual. I thought it was an ulcer," said Daniels.
A colonoscopy detected a nine centimeter cancerous tumor.
"The good news with colon cancer is that if we catch it early it's one of the most curable of all cancers," said Dr. Eric Hass of Colorectal Surgical Associates.
Dr. Eric Haas performed laparoscopic surgery on Eddy.
The robotic surgery is another minimally invasive technique that is completely changing how colon cancer is treated.
"So the scar is very small, the recovery is much quicker, and what we want to do is not only remove the cancer and cure the patient but really get them back to their families and their work and their daily living much sooner," said Dr. Haas.
People with a family history of colorectal cancers should be screened at age 40.
Otherwise, the recommendation is to have your first colonoscopy at age 50 and every 10 years after that.