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Screening Can Be a Lifesaver

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Clinician says colonoscopy and great treatment saved his life

Renato Lenzi, M.D., gets to the heart of the matter when I tell him I perpetually postpone my colonoscopy.

"Without regular colonoscopies and the great treatment I received at MD Anderson, I would be dead," says Lenzi, a clinical associate professor in GI Medical Oncology.

After he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2002 during a screening, Lenzi endured months of treatment that included surgery, six months of chemotherapy and five weeks of chemotherapy with radiation.

Although he may be a nine-year cancer survivor, Lenzi's haunted daily with side effects of the treatments, including body image changes, fatigue, difficulty sleeping and occasional increased anxiety related to medical testing.


 
The difference between talking about war and living it.
"As a doctor, you basically know what the side effects are," Lenzi says. "You've seen a number of patients, so you know the data. You understand the meaning to a point."

But when the tables turn and the symptoms and the issues become your own, he says, you know exactly what you're talking about.


"I have a better idea than I did before of the implications of the medication we give to people and what they're going to feel like. It's like talking about the war, and then having been in it."

This cancer warrior is being recognized by his colleagues as the honoree of the 2011 Sprint for Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Education (SCOPE) 5K, Saturday, March 26, 8:00 a.m., on the MD Anderson campus.

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Race for education and prevention
The goal of SCOPE is to educate the general public about colorectal cancer. Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society says in 2010 there were:

  • 102,900 new cases of colon cancer (49,470 in men and 53,430 in women)
  • 39,670 new cases of rectal cancer (22,620 in men and 17,050 in women)

Learn more about colon cancer, colonoscopies and colonoscopy preparation.

To participate in the SCOPE 5K, visit mdanderson.org/scope.

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