LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- In this week's 'Real Men Wear Gowns' report in recognition of Men's Health Month, we're focusing on colon cancer.
7News sat down with a local doctor to find out why it's so important to get a colonoscopy and to dispel some of the anxieties many men have about the procedure.
Colon cancer is the third most deadly cancer in men.
Some of the risk factors are being overweight, lack of exercise, a diet high in red meats, or processed meats, as well as smoking, and alcohol.
Doctor Jose Najera an oncologist at Comanche County Memorial Hospital says because of the high mortality rate, regular screenings for men who are at greater risk is vital.
"We recommend that at least at age 50 or above now if somebody has a family member who's had a colon cancer then we recommend a colonoscopy 10 years before the age that their family member had it."
While most men dread the procedure, Doctor Najera says it all happens while the patient is partially sedated, so most patients don't have discomfort. He says most people complain about preparation process because they have to take a laxative.
There are other tests that aren't as invasive, but Doctor Najera says colonoscopies are the most reliable.
"Once you have it done again if they don't see anything you go 10 years without getting anything else."
He says having them every ten years is important because it can detect cancer or a polyp which could turn into cancer.
"Once it travels to another organ in your body, that's when it becomes stage four and in general it's not curable. By doing colonoscopy it's one of those screening tools that can actually save lives."
Doctor Najera says men can reduce their risk by eating less red and processed meats and more fruits, vegetables, along with more fiber. He hopes more men will heed the advice they're hearing throughout this month, and put it into action.
"I would encourage all men to take charge of their health and consider colonoscopies because it can save lives and prevent cancer which in some cases can be deadly."
The Cancer Center at Comanche County Memorial Hospital is offering free screenings that you can pick up at the hospital and use at home. For more information call The Cancer Center.