Sponsored - Alvin Brown, Jr. was working alongside his dad doing yard work one afternoon when he began experiencing a noticeable pain in his stomach.
Chalking it up to just a pulled muscle, Brown thought the discomfort he was feeling would let up in a few days. However, when it continued to persist days later, Brown says he knew this pain was different, and it was time to visit his family doctor.
While he has a family history of colon cancer, Brown admits it was a surprise when his family physician referred him to a colorectal and general surgeon, Dr. Tararijeet Kaur, at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center, whose first course of action was to schedule a colonoscopy.
“I never even had symptoms,” Brown says. “But I did have a family history of colon cancer.”
“During the colonoscopy procedure, a mass and blockage were found,” Dr. Kaur says. “After sending the mass out for testing, I had to deliver the news that the mass was indeed colon cancer.”
Tiffany Brown, Alvin’s wife, remembers the devastation and uncertainty she felt upon hearing the diagnosis.
“When Alvin and I first got the news of his diagnosis, I was devastated,” she says. “When someone gets a cancer diagnosis, your mind automatically goes to the worst. We have kids that we want to see grow up and raise together. We always talk about watching them graduate high school and college, but with this diagnosis, it was life-changing.”
Alvin Brown said that while the diagnosis was unexpected, the support he felt from Dr. Kaur helped keep his spirit strong.
“Dr. Kaur gave me the diagnosis but never let me feel like I wasn’t going to make it,” he says. “She was extremely positive that she could remove it and help me continue living.”
Soon, Brown underwent a total colectomy to remove the cancer, and Dr. Kaur removed the mass without Brown needing further treatment. “Mr. Brown is continuing to live a normal life except for the checkups by his medical oncologist and his yearly exam by me. He is one-year post-op and doing great,” says Dr. Kaur.
“I owe my life to Dr. Kaur. She performed a miracle, and I can never repay her for helping me continue to live and watch my kids grow. I would recommend that everyone get a colonoscopy and visit their doctor if they have out-of-the-normal pain,” Brown says. “The staff at Hazard ARH were amazing, and Dr. Kaur gave me my life back.”
Colon cancer affects both men and women and is the second most common cause of cancer in the United States. However, regular screening can find colon cancer when it is small, hasn’t spread, and might be easier to treat. Some types of screening can also help find and remove pre-cancerous growths called polyps before they can become cancer.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that people at average risk for colon cancer begin screening at age 45. The ACS lowered the age from 50 to 45 to start screening because studies show rates of colorectal cancer among people younger than 50 are on the rise. ACS experts have determined that screening starting at 45 could help save more lives.
Those like Brown, who are at higher risk for colon cancer due to family history, should talk to their healthcare provider for screening recommendations. Your healthcare provider can help you choose your best screening option and schedule.
You can help reduce your cancer risk by making healthy choices like eating right, staying active, and not smoking. It’s also important to follow recommended screening guidelines, which can help detect certain cancers early.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and the perfect time to schedule your screening!