Lifewatch: Colon Cancer

WILMINGTON -- There are new colon cancer screening guidelines that could help save your life.

Diane Quinn is a wife, mother, and grandmother who never guessed she would become one of the thousands diagnosed with colon cancer; especially since her colonoscopy came back with no problems.

Now, she shares her story of survival with some helpful tips.

If Diane isn't in her garden, you can find her in the kitchen cooking.

"Everybody says we love your pot roast so a lot of times we have 3 pot roasts cooking in my kitchen," said Diane.

On this particular day, she's making dinner to take to a friend battling cancer.  Something Diane knows all too well.

"They told me I had stage 3 colon cancer. I had a tumor 3 half inches diameter," said Diane.

She underwent colon surgery and suffered through 9 months of chemotherapy treatment, traveling every couple of weeks to MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas.

Diane said she learned an important lesson.

"I was in a win situation I won if I stayed here and I won if I went to here.  His purpose was for me to stay here to help others that's really what I want to do," said Diane.

Diane has been cancer free for four years and spends her time telling others about cancer screenings.  She also tells others about the American Cancer Society's new colon cancer screening guidelines.

There are two categories of testing: one that tests for cancer and polyps, which includes a colonoscopy and a virtually colonoscopy; the other is performed on stool, which includes new stool DNA tests.

"What's new is a DNA based test which examines abnormal DNA in cells that are shed from the colon.  The early results show more beneficial in picking up cancers in people who don't have any symptoms than the standard test," said Marty Heslin, a general surgeon.

Dr. Heslin suggests that everyone over 50 years old consult with their physician about getting tested.

Colorectal cancer doesn't have a gender preference.  It affects both men and women.  Diane said if her story can touch one person and encourage them to get tested, she feels like her battle with cancer is not in vain.

Reported by Kristy Ondo