Creighton researcher: colon cancer survival rate good if it's caught early

Dec 12, 2013

A Creighton University Medical School expert on colon cancer says age 50 may be too late for some people to wait to have a colonoscopy.

Wednesday, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced he has colon cancer. He’s scheduled to have surgery Thursday, and will be in the hospital for several days. Bruning said he went to the doctor for treatment of persistent acid reflux, and his doctor recommended a colonoscopy. That found two polyps, one of which was cancerous.

Dr. Henry Lynch is founder of Creighton’s Hereditary Cancer Prevention Clinic and a longtime researcher of colon cancer and its genetic markers. Lynch says if colon cancer is caught early, the survival rate is very good.

“It would be about 90 percent, between 85 and 90 percent or even a little higher, based upon the pathology relevant to an early cancer that has not metastasized beyond the colon.”

In a statement released Wednesday, Bruning says “Like millions of Americans who have been diagnosed with cancer, I will move forward with treatment and am optimistic for a clean bill of health after surgery.” Bruning says he hopes his announcement will encourage others to “make their health a priority.”