‘This was just me being ahead of the game’
Katrone Shepherd of Aurora, Ill., turned 45 last year and thought to himself, ‘I know I’m supposed to do something.’
It turns out that something was a routine colonoscopy screening, according to his primary care physician who promptly scheduled a screening.
Shepherd had already received treatment for heartburn by Dr. Ravi Prakash, a gastroenterologist at Advocate Medical Group and Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital. Dr. Prakash also performed Shepherd’s first colonoscopy. Afterward, Shepherd was surprised to learn he had a cancerous polyp. Fortunately, it was removed and caught before it could grow.
“This shows why it’s important to be diligent and not skip or put off a colonoscopy,” Dr. Prakash says. “The benefit of early detection is why we have routine screenings.”
For Shepherd, this was a reminder of a philosophy he already lives by.
“By trade, I’m a diesel mechanic. I know you have to do routine maintenance to prevent things from happening,” says Shepherd. “So I go to the doctor. I do my checkups. This was just me being ahead of the game,” he adds.
And while Shepherd did not have a family history of colon cancer, Dr. Prakash points out it’s important for people to discuss such risk factors with their doctor. That way you and your doctor can determine when you should start colonoscopy screenings.
Shepherd now shares his experience with family and friends.
“My doctor said if I had waited for years as some people do, I probably wouldn’t be here,” he says.
Feeling nervous or have questions about colonoscopies? Take the first step by learning your risk for colorectal cancer by taking our free colorectal health assessment and scheduling a colorectal cancer screening in Illinois or Wisconsin.
About the Author
Kate Thayer, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator with Advocate Health Care. She spent nearly two decades as a journalist, most recently as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. Throughout her career, Kate has written about public health, politics, government, education and legal issues, along with human interest stories. She enjoys running, podcasts and her twin daughters.