CONWAY, Ark.- We hear it all the time, “Listen to your body”.
“Go to your doctor if something doesn’t seem right.”
A Conway pastor is sharing those messages with people after losing his wife to colon cancer.
Pastor Bobby Hamilton cherishes memories today.
His late wife, Jill, passed away several years after being diagnosed with colon cancer. She was 47 years old.
“If we were to catch this a year earlier, everything might have been different,” says Hamilton.
Bobby said Jill had a few digestive problems that she ignored. It got worse, and she had to go to the emergency room.
“Nobody knows what’s going on inside, and sometimes, things can be happening and you just have to be attentive,” Hamilton says.
Jill lived a healthy lifestyle. Bobby remembers how dedicated she was to eating healthy and exercising.
“I think that maybe she ignored the family history, just forgot about it and really made light of the symptoms she was going through,” he says.
Gastroenterologist Marin Moix with Conway Regional says colon cancer patients often times have no family history, no symptoms, and are under 50 years old.
“There’s been good evidence that what we do is effective in preventing the disease,” Dr. Moix says.
Dr. Moix says there’s still a sense of fear and lack of comfort when it comes to getting screened the traditional colonoscopy route, but new advancements in technology are offering different options.
“Virtual colonscopies, which were catscans of the the colon,” says Dr. Moix. “We also have stool DNA testing now.”
When it comes to testing, doctors recommend people with a family history get screened 10 years prior to the age the loved one died from colon cancer.
While battling this awful diagnosis, Bobby admits they never lost hope and faith.
“I just believe that faith helps you,” says Hamilton. “God helps you go through things you never thought you could go through.”
Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of death.
Doctors say it’s a preventable disease if you get screened early.