He could've been alive right now and had a lot more years if he had just had a colonoscopy.
Debbie Carter knows the heart ache of losing a loved one too early because he put off getting a procedure that could have saved his life.
"I had been trying to get him to have a colonoscopy for 7, 8 or 9 years which he didn't...and so it was stage 4 when they did the surgery, says Carter."
Her husband died in october of 2010, Six months after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
Carter says the cancer had spread to his liver and there was nothing they could do.
They were told his liver just had lesions too numerous to count.
Doctors says Mr. Carter probably had the cancer for up to 5 years before his death.
Mrs. Carter says it was very hard to watch her husband slowly go down, especially since if it had been caught early, he would probably be alive today.
She says "If you want to live the rest of your life or a good life, get a colonoscopy -- I wouldn't be sitting here by myself right now."
Mr. Carter was 61. The recommended age to begin getting a regular colonscopy is 50.
"That's assuming you don't have a family history. If you have a family history of colon cancer then you should start at 40 or even earlier if there's an early family history, says Dr. Chris Wells, a Panama City gastroenterologist.
There are no signs or symptoms of early colon cancer and that makes getting a colonoscopy all that more crucial.
Dr. Wells says "what we do through colonscopy either detect cancer early or by removing polyps or precancerous growths we can prevent colon cancer from ever developing."
Mrs. Carter urges you not to wait.. to find a doctor now
"I never thought I'd be a widow at age 61."
The 5 year survival rate for early stage colon cancer is 85%.
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