WSFA/NBC - Doctors say colon cancers in young men and women are on the rise but catching it early can drastically improve your odds of beating it.
That's why Stephanie King from Texas is sharing her story about how a single decision saved her life. King knew at some point she would have to have a colonoscopy.
Doctors recommend the colon cancer screening for African Americans at age 45 and everyone else at age 50.
"I was nervous about going to get a colonoscopy done," said King.
Even though she was nervous, she didn't hesitate to get the procedure done at the first signs that something wasn't right.
King said, "I started having stomach pains, and one day I just stayed in bed all day with really bad stomach pains and I couldn't eat anything and then I started throwing up."
The colonoscopy she'd been so nervous about revealed a large tumor that if not removed right away would have led to a difficult cancer battle.
Dr. Christopher Dwyer at Medical City Arlington said, "It would have spread to her lymph nodes and possibly to other organs and she was literally just one stage away from needing chemotherapy."
Dwyer says, unlike Stephanie, many patients wait too long at the first signs of symptoms. He says that's part of the reason why colon cancer rates among people between the ages of 25 and 50 are on the rise.
"It's not that we should start screening earlier, we should start listening to our bodies and getting the word out to primary care physicians as well as to the patients themselves," said Dwyer.
Because Stephanie listened to her body, she only needed surgery to free her of cancer.