Take charge: Colon cancer is 90 percent preventable
with regular routine screening
From Spotlight on Health Sept./Oct. 2008
Knowing it was the right thing to do, Les
Levin went in for a routine colonoscopy. And, it was a good thing, too.
Although Levin, 54, had no symptoms,
Long Prairie family medicine physician Paul
Van Gorp, M.D., found a mass that was too
large to remove. Levin was scheduled for
surgery and in April underwent the first
laparoscopic colon resection performed at
Long Prairie Memorial Hospital. The
surgery, performed by George Fortier, M.D.,
removed a pre-cancerous adenoma mass and 12 inches of Levin’s colon.
While traditional surgery meant a long
recovery time and large abdominal
incisions, laparoscopic surgery is less
“Patients experience less pain --
requiring less medication, a faster
recovery time, and a quicker return to
normal activities,” Fortier said.
Levin, a self-employed electrical
contractor from Long Prairie, couldn’t be happier with the
laparoscopic surgery and his recovery time. “Everyone was great,”
Levin said. “The doctors were polite and informative. I had the
surgery on a Thursday and was back to work the following Tuesday.”
“It’s important that people get a colonoscopy,” Fortier said. “By
the time there are symptoms, the chance of it being cancerous has
Nearly 50,000 Americans will die this year from colon cancer,
according to the American Cancer Society.
“Colon cancer is 90 percent preventable with regular screening, and if
detected in its earlier stages, is successfully treated 90 percent of the
time,” said Nicholas Reuter, M.D., director of Medical Oncology at
the Coborn Cancer Center in St. Cloud.
“Don’t put it off like I did,” Levin said. “It’s not painful. They put you
to sleep and before you know it, it’s over.”