OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. A type of cancer that is the third most common in the US, and a that has become more common in people at younger ages.
In October of 2014 Omaha’s Lena Beeson was experiencing stomach pain and cramps, but at just 48 years old she didn’t think much of it.
She eventually went to the doctor. Two days later she made a trip to the ER and was then diagnosed with stage four colon cancer the next day.
She went through three different surgeries and about a dozen treatments of chemotherapy. Bits of cancer even made their way to her liver and lungs.
But she never quit fighting. On February 16 of 2016, she was cancer-free.
Now six years later, and after hearing many other stories, her message is to get your colonoscopy at age 45.
“I think a lot of people think that it’s for older folks, something you get when you’re older. I was 48. I have another friend that’s battling right now and he’s 48. If I had gotten it at 45, I probably would’ve had cancer, but it wouldn’t have been stage four, and my family wouldn’t have had to have gone through what we went through,” Beeson said.
She says without the support from her family, friends, and the community, she wouldn’t have made it.
Beeson has since met many people who have been diagnosed, and some who haven’t made it.
“I kind of feel like it was a miracle and that since I am able to share my story, and maybe it will help somebody. Go get your colonoscopy when you’re 45,” Beeson said. “It could be prevented, and if you have it, it might not be so far along. It’s more curable when it’s not so far along.”
Colon cancer has grown increasingly more common in people under 50. This is why you can now get a colonoscopy at 45, and it should be covered by insurance.
If you have a family history of colon cancer it is recommended to get it when you’re 35.
Beeson says she now wants to be there for others who have been diagnosed and that no one should go through it alone.
There are ways you can help as well.
An easy way is to wear blue Friday for “Dress in Blue Day” to help bring awareness to the second deadliest cancer in the US.
Another is to encourage family and friends to get checked before it’s possibly too late.