LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - As a former nurse, Cynthia Higgins said the threat of colon cancer is all too real. That is why she now gets checked every year.
"I’ve been screening for about six or seven years. If it can be prevented, why not?” Higgins said. “Well, I worked as a registered nurse for over 35 years. I worked my last 12 in radiation oncology, and I saw first-hand what colon cancer can do and what it can do if you catch it early enough.”
Higgins says she was inspired to screen for cancer after her mother was treated early for ovarian cancer. She says early detection helped her mom live for 20 years.
Sarpreet Basra is a gastroenterologist at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and said colon cancer is very common.
“It’s a very slow growing cancer. It’s the second leading cancer that causes death in the U.S.,” Basra said. “Number one is prostate cancer for men and number one for women it’s breast cancer. So, it’s number two; that tells you how common the cancer is.”
Basra said though it is the second deadliest, it is one of the most easily preventable if detected early with either a take-home kit or being checked by your doctor.
“It saves lives, at the end of the day,” Basra said. “We highly recommend getting this easy test done, which takes about 20-30 minutes and can save someone’s life.”
“I’m going to do a test this week and hopefully it’ll say no cancer,” Higgins said. “Get yourself checked on, and if everything is okay, you got a good chance of living unless you get run over by a train or something.”
The free kits will be handed out on the first floor at the Radiation Oncology Department at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, 1701 Oak Park Blvd from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.