Early diagnosis key in overcoming colon cancer - WSMV Channel 4

Early diagnosis key in overcoming colon cancer

Posted: Updated: May 27, 2016 12:53 AM
Jenny Barnes discovered early she had colon cancer because of a early screening. (Source: WSMV) Jenny Barnes discovered early she had colon cancer because of a early screening. (Source: WSMV)
Front cover of EZ Detect, which will help individuals do a screening. (Source: Submitted) Front cover of EZ Detect, which will help individuals do a screening. (Source: Submitted)
EZ Detect test dish (Source: Submitted) EZ Detect test dish (Source: Submitted)
EZ Detect test result (Soucre: Submitted) EZ Detect test result (Soucre: Submitted)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Her symptoms were around for a good six months: bleeding, night sweats and severe abdominal pain.

But Jenny Barnes of Joelton wrote them off as the stuff you simply deal with at a certain age.

"For me the pain felt like I was having a baby again," explained Barnes. "I didn't put the pieces together."

An age-appropriate colonoscopy revealed she had Stage 1 colon cancer.

Doctors moved fast.

"They got me into surgery very quickly," Barnes said. "Two weeks later I had surgery. Six weeks later I was cancer-free."

Today the AT&T executive is shouting her message from the mountaintops.

"Early diagnosis is key," Barnes said emphatically.

She's also telling everyone who will listen that that screening for colon cancer  is as simple as a drug store screening test.

Barnes held up a small, white envelope labeled “Ez Detect” and explained how to use it.

"You put this in your stool in your toilet, and it will identify there's blood there, which indicates something,” Barnes said. “It may not be cancer. It could be a hernia. Could be an ulcer, colitis. But it gives you the fact you have something, and you need to go take that next step."

Fred's pharmacy locations partnered with WSMV to offer free screening tests throughout March, which is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

"Thank you WSMV. Thank you Fred's. I think it's a great first step,” said Barnes.

It's an idea Barnes loves almost as much as she loves her now regular colonoscopy - what she joyfully calls "a cleanse."

"Get everything out. Get clean. I actually look forward them to now," Barnes said with a smile. "That sounds sick. but I do look forward to it now."

When colon cancer is caught early, it has a 90 percent survival rate.

Doctors are seeing a decrease of colon cancer diagnoses in people in their 50's and beyond because of better awareness and screening. However, they're seeing an increase in the 30's and 40's.

Your risk of colon cancer goes up if you smoke, are overweight, have a family history of the disease, or if you've had irritable bowel syndrome or colitis.

For more information about colorectal cancer, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

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