Darnell Thoroughgood, Virginia Beach, VA Healthline: Can you give us a little background about your experience with colon cancer?
Darnell: I have been cancer-free for eight years now. Eight years ago, I saw blood and went to the doctor. I had extensive surgery for the condition [to remove part of the large intestine]. After the surgery, I was lucky enough not to need chemo or radiation therapy.
Healthline: Did anyone in your family ever suffer from any similar conditions?
Darnell: No one in my family has suffered from this condition.
Healthline: Has your experience changed your overall outlook on your health and/or on taking care of your body?
Darnell: Yes, most definitely. I eat more vegetables now, and a lot less fat, and I take fiber tablets. If I eat fried chicken, I take the skin off.
Healthline: Knowing what you know now, what kind of preventative measures (if any) do you wish you would have taken earlier in your life?
Darnell: I would have gotten screened for the disease earlier. It may have prevented the need for a complicated surgery. The earlier colon cancer is detected, the easier it is to cure.
Healthline: Is there anything you would tell other men that you wish you had been told when you were younger (or really at any point in your life)?
Darnell: Pay attention to the signals your body gives you. Ignoring problems does not make them go away. I know guys with good insurance and they still won’t get [screened]. I tell them to think about their families. If they love their wife, get it done. If they love their kids, get it done.