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Physician talks colon and colorectal cancer after death of AR Sen. Greg Standridge

Arkansas Senator Greg Standridge died from complications of colorectal cancer Thursday morning. (Photo courtesy: Arkansas Senate)

At age 50, Arkansas Senator Greg Standridge succumbs to complications from colon cancer Thursday morning.

Elected in 2015, Standridge represented senate district 16, which is made up primarily of Pope and Newton counties, along with parts of Boone, Carroll and Van Buren.

Dr. Jonathan Laryea, associate professor of surgery in the Division of General Surgery at UAMS, has treated thousands of colon and colorectal cancer patients over the span of 17 years.

"In general, colorectal cancer starts off as polyps,” said Dr. Laryea. “Polyps are benign growths in the colon. However, if they are not removed, then they can continue to grow and turn into cancer."

While some patients see no symptoms, others may experience very noticeable ones.

Including abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits, bleeding, and weight loss.

"The recommendation for screening is that if you don't have any family member with colon cancer, or if you don't have any risk factors for colon cancer, then you start screening at age 50," said Dr. Laryea.

Dr. Laryea has advice for anyone recently diagnosed.

"Get to see a specialist, and get to know the details of what applies to you and how you are going to be treated, and what you should expect," said Dr. Laryea.

Dr. Laryea also says colon and colorectal cancer is sometimes preventable if you have screenings early enough.

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