When New Bedford resident Angie Ramos began experiencing sharp pains in her side, she knew something wasn't right. But she chalked it up to anything other than the silent killer, colon cancer. After all, Angie is young and in the prime of her life! She had no reason to suspect colon cancer.

Older members in her family were hesitant to pass along the information that colon cancer was prevalent in her family circle. A simple test, a colonoscopy, is credited for saving her life! The test found polyps and also led to her health care specialist asking for a blood test that detects if colon cancer is in the family DNA. It was!

When all was said and done, at least six members of her family had colon cancer.

Angie and her support friend, Claudia Brown, joined me on-air to share her story, and to help get the message out to get DNA screened. There's been a lot of excitement during the past decade because of the identification of abnormal or defective genes (mutations) associated with colon cancer in families where it is common.

When a defective gene can be identified, it's possible to examine other members of the family to see if they also carry the defective gene. Those individuals who carry the defective gene are at a very, very high risk (75 to 100 percent) for developing colon cancer.

Just think, a simple colonoscopy and painless blood test can save your life, too!

Please get screened if you think your family has a history with colon cancer. And remember colon cancer isn't just for old men anymore!

Phil Paleologos is the host of the Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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