Bryan Health patient shares colon cancer journey to encourage others to get screened
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A Bryan Health patient shared his journey with colon cancer and the importance of preventative screenings during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Over 150,000 people are projected to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year.
In Nebraska, the illness is the second deadliest cancer and rates are increasing in people under the age of 50.
Warren Fick, a 46-year-old parts manager at Butler Ag Equipment in Pickrell, is a lifelong Nebraskan who was born and raised in Saunders County. Fick said he was a healthy man and had no symptoms of colorectal cancer or a family history with the disease. For that reason, he put off scheduling his routine health screenings, including a colonoscopy, over the last few years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fick’s wife, Laura, a nurse practitioner at Southeast Lincoln Family Medicine & Internal Medicine, encouraged him to resume his preventative health screenings now that COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are low.
In October 2022, Fick underwent a routine colonoscopy where Dr. Matthew Hrnicek, a gastroenterologist, found and removed a 3.5-centimeter polyp. Later that week, lab results confirmed it was cancerous but it was detected early in stage one.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer when discovered early. Regular screenings, beginning at age 45, are key to prevention or early discovery. Colonoscopies, along with other at-home tests, can help prevent up to 80% of all colon cancer deaths.
Today, Fick is back to living his normal lifestyle. Fick said he feels fortunate that his cancer was detected early and doctors said that if he would have waited one more year to get his colonoscopy, the cancer would have likely spread and his prognosis would have been much different.
By telling his story, Fick hopes to encourage others to get preventative screenings.
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