The Richmond Register

Local News

April 1, 2013

A brothers’ story of colon cancer prevention

Importance of check ups come home

RICHMOND — There are certain traditions families like to pass down from one generation to the next — but colon cancer will not be one of them for the Marcum family.

Rick Marcum felt perfectly fine, said the 61-year-old Richmond resident.

“That’s why they call (colon cancer) the ‘silent killer,’” said Rick, who never felt the need to get a colonoscopy despite being “pushed” by his wife and brothers to do so.

Rick’s brother Larry Marcum, 65, had several pre-cancerous polyps removed and their father, Donald Marcum, had several removed as well. But Rick didn’t heed the warning.

When he finally got checked out, it was discovered that Rick had a significant lesion inside his colon, which required surgery. If he had waited any longer, it would have turned into cancer in less than a year, he said.

Had Rick received regular colonoscopies, recommended at age 50, doctors would have been able to easily remove the polyps with a flexible lighted telescope during his colonoscopy, said Dr. Joshua Steiner  with St. Joseph East Hospital in Lexington.

“You wouldn’t even know they did it,” Rick said.

If under age 50, Steiner said, early detection is recommended if a person is experiencing bloating, bleeding from the rectum, pain or — in Rick’s case — a family history of polyps, which lead to colon cancer.

“Men aren’t good with prophylactic (preventative) medicine,” Steiner said. “We don’t take good care of ourselves sometimes.”

Women generally have annual obstetrics and gynecological exams, he said, whereas most men do not have annual checkups.

“Although we should,” he added.

It had been six years since Rick’s other brother Jerry, 62, had a colonoscopy. Jerry had been pretty insistent that Rick get checked out, but failed to take his own advice.

When it was decided that Rick would need surgery, Jerry decided a colonoscopy was in order.

Jerry also visited Dr. Steiner, who found an almost identical lesion and in the same area as his brother Rick.

Within a few years of one another, both brothers underwent a minimally invasive robotic-assisted right hemicolectomy with the da Vinci Surgical System.

With this system, the doctor fills a patient’s abdomen with nonflammable gas to blow it up and allow “for some working space,” Steiner said.

A few incisions are made and trochars, or “working ports” are secured in place so the doctor can insert instruments to perform the surgery.

With the assistance of robotic arms, Steiner can complete the entire surgery while looking at a high-definition, three-dimensional image of the lesion magnified 10 to 12 times the actual size, he said.

The da Vinci system can be used for thoracic, urologic, gynecologic, pediatric, general and transoral surgeries as well.

Both brothers spent around two days in the hospital and had relatively “uneventful” recoveries, Steiner said.

“They were taken care of with the latest, greatest technology, had short hospital stays and are cancer-free,” the doctor said. “Now, they have no different survival rate than me or you. If it had been allowed to turn into cancer, that would have been significantly different.”

Despite common perceptions about colonoscopies, “I’m a believer,” Rick said. “It’s the best and easiest thing you can ever do — compared to surgery.”

He said the worse part about a colonoscopy is the night before, when the colon must be “cleaned out” with a powerful bowel-clearing substance.

“You will not leave the house, let’s just put it that way,” Rick joked.

His 37-year-old son is “not real worried about polyps” right now, Rick said. “But he needs to definitely start thinking about it.”

Rick and his brothers will require yearly surveillance because of their family and medical history, Steiner said.

“But I won’t hesitate this time,” Rick said. “It’s so simple to take care of this problem if you don’t wait like I did.”

In February 2000, President Bill Clinton officially dedicated March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@ or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

Text Only
Local News
  • 4-24 UKatWaco1.jpg Wildcats encourage Cardinals to work hard in school

    University of Kentucky student athletes Kastine Evans, a guard on the women’s basketball team, and Jon Hood, a guard on the men’s team, stopped by Waco Elementary School on Wednesday to talk about the benefits of working hard in school.

    April 23, 2014 4 Photos

  • Mayor, commissioner pay changed

    The Richmond City Commission approved 5-1 a new pay scale for the mayor and commissioners at a special-called meeting Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-24 Lorenzo McWilliams.jpg Harrodsburg to get old Richmond police mobile computers

    Richmond is donating to the city of Harrodsburg eight of 39 old computers formerly used in police cruisers.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-24 HOSAblooddrive.jpg Health science students organize blood drive

    Aside from the gift cards and free snacks, 50 Madison County high school students have other reasons for donating 35 pints of blood Wednesday to the Kentucky Blood Center at Madison Central High School.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Third student charged in dorm room robbery

    A third person, originally thought to be a robbery victim, was charged Wednesday in connection with an armed robbery that occurred March 30 on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus

    April 23, 2014

  • Bucher Family plant sale starts Friday

    The Bucher Family annual plant sale, a yearly tradition in Madison County for 15 years, will kick off Friday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-23 Gravestone.jpg In search of the last resting place

    At a popular illegal dump site off Bybee Loop in Waco, two marble grave markers were among some items found there by Pat and Ronnie Aldridge, residents who live about 250 yards from the area.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fiscal court awards EMA bids

    Two more bids were awarded at Tuesday’s Madison County Fiscal Court meeting for the emergency operations agency.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Peter Crowe.jpg Intoxicated man charged with wanton endangerment

    A 27-year-old Richmond man was charged Sunday with second-degree wanton endangerment after he was found intoxicated and walking with several young children in the Keystone Drive area, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Absentee voting available for May 20 election

    Walk-in absentee voting for the May 20 primary has begun and will continue until May 19, County Clerk Kenny Barger announced Tuesday at the Madison Fiscal Court meeting.

    April 22, 2014

AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

     View Results