Skip to Content

Healthbeat 4: Colon and rectal cancer treatments

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

Sioux City, Iowa (KTIV) -- Iowa Cancer Maps are created through a partnership with health and medical organizations in the state. They show regions in Iowa where the risk for developing or dying from certain cancers is higher. Siouxland appears to be one of those areas.

"Data through a couple different sources in the state of Iowa does show, that for the Siouxland area, colorectal cancer diagnoses are higher than the rest of the state average," said Christie Finnegan, Marketing Manager, June E. Nylen Cancer Center.

Maps found on the Iowa Cancer Registry, which cover data from 2004 to 2015, show a higher risk of colorectal cancer in the Siouxland area.

Finnegan says available screening data for 50- to 75-year-olds shows that age group should be getting colonoscopies, but aren't as often as they should, so diagnoses of colorectal cancer are going up.

Finnegan says several organizations and medical facilities in our community are working together to circulate an important message. If you're 50 and older, go get a colonoscopy.

One of the top cancer diagnoses at the June E. Nylen Cancer Center is colon cancer.

A local physician outlines the differences between colon and rectal cancer and tells us how those cancers are treated.

Doctor Donald Wender, a Hematology and Oncology Specialist, says rectal cancer involves the last 15 centimeters of the colon, the rest of the colon moves around the body. He adds, 90% of colon cancers affect people who are 50 and older, and are the more common cancer of the two, but it's not known why.

"In rectal cancer, you usually get chemo and radiation up front and then do surgery," said Dr. Wender. "With colon cancer, assuming that it's not spread, you do surgery first. We look at the surgery specimen, whether lymph nodes are involved, did it go through the wall, did it cause obstruction?"

Chemotherapy might be considered after surgery to prevent a recurrence. The doctor says treatments have evolved over the years after thousands of studies, but still might cause some issues.

"But there are side effects. You get fatigued, you get diarrhea, you get discomfort with the radiation, but it's transient," said Dr. Wender.

Stella Daskalakis

Skip to content