In this health video learn how researchers are one step closer to a blood test to detect colon cancer without putting patients through a full-blown colonoscopy.
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Jennifer Matthews: This is what makes Ron Obenauf smile. With two dogs, and 11 horses, it's clear he's an animal lover. But a recent health diagnosis made Ron wonder how much longer he'd be able to enjoy his life on the farm. Ron Obenauf: There w times when tears would just be, for no reason, coming down. And i would say, why is this happening to me. Jennifer Matthews: At age 50, Ron asked his doctor for a Colonoscopy but was told to wait two years. He did and found out he had full-blown colon cancer at 52. Ron Obenauf: You kind of need to understand what happens in cancer, and not rely on your doctors. Jennifer Matthews: Most patients are not like Ron. They don't ask for a colonoscopy. Without the test, they don't know they have colon cancer until it's too late. Daniel Liebler: You pretty much spend a day in the bathroom before your colonoscopy, and this is really off-putting to a lot of people. Jennifer Matthews: Now, researchers are working on developing a blood test to detect colon cancer. Daniel Liebler: The opportunity to work on this problem, I regard as the chance of a lifetime. Jennifer Matthews: Researchers extract different proteins from actual tumors and scan them into a database. They compare the markers of patients with cancer to those without. The idea is the tumor leaks small proteins into the blood that can be spotted. It will be a few years before a test is widely available, but it could be huge for people like Ron. Ron Obenauf: It's going to immediately save lives. Jennifer Matthews: For now, Ron will enjoy each day of his. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.