Colon cancer survivor says don’t wait to get screened

Colon cancer survivor says don’t wait to get screened

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Nine years ago, James Arrington Goff realized time is precious.

“They say to go have a test, go have the colonoscopy at age 50," Goff said. “I was 52 when this all came about.”

Goff said one Sunday all those years ago, he felt unusually tired. He went to his family doctor the next day, who ran blood work, and whatever his doctor found compelled him to send Goff to Hattiesburg G.I. Associates in Lamar County.

“They found a tumor,” Goff said.

Goff never thought he could have cancer, but doctors found and removed a slow growing stage 2 colon cancer. Goff said his oncologist told him getting checked out at age 50 would have made a big difference.

“Had I come a year, two years early, we could have probably prevented this, you know, the surgery,” Goff said.

Goff’s story has a good ending, surgery got rid of the cancer and he didn’t need chemotherapy. Goff’s doctor at Hattiesburg G.I. Associates, Gastroenterologist Dr. William Farmer, said that’s a best-case scenario.

“If you are gonna have a colonoscopy and find a cancer, the best outcome is to be able to have surgery, cure it and do well after that,” Farmer said.

Farmer knows Goff’s case isn’t everyone’s story, so prevention is the best step and that starts with knowing your family history and knowing your body.

“Bleeding is the one that everybody kind of accepts as the biggest sign of colon cancer, but change in bowel habits, abdominal pain, weight loss that’s unexplained for any other reason,” Farmer said.

But Farmer said usually there are no symptoms and by age 50, getting checked can mean the difference in finding a harmless polyp or cancer.

“If you hit 50 and have your birthday party, the next day you need to have your colonoscopy is the way we look at it,” Farmer said.

Now, cancer free, Goff said he would have gotten checked out earlier, and you should too.

“I would say it was no big deal having the colonoscopy," Goff said. “It was a big deal having cancer.”

If you would like to schedule a colonoscopy or talk to a provider at Hattiesburg G.I. Associates, you can reach them at 601-268-5185

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