LAKE SHORE -- Marlene Goble had more reasons than most to get a colonoscopy, but her message to anyone over 50 is similar to that of the popular shoe manufacturer -- just do it.
"It's painless," the 51-year-old said. "It's easy to do. Why not go in there and get the test done."
Her matter-of-fact attitude, in part, could be because she's all too familiar with the devastation that cancer can cause.
In November, Goble's mother died of colon cancer. Her sister died in 1999 of ovarian cancer at the age of 42. Another sister, diagnosed with breast cancer at 41, is a cancer survivor.
With all of the cancer-related illness in her family there might have been a tendency for her to want to block out the subject once things settled down in her family. She put off a colonoscopy for awhile, but there was an inner voice reminding her "Mom would have wanted you to have it," she said.
That inner voice possibly saved her life, since Dr. Ron Sorenson of Brainerd Medical Center discovered a small polyp, about the size of a 1/2-inch fingertip, that eventually was determined to be cancerous. The polyp was removed immediately and Goble later underwent surgery that removed close to a foot of her colon. Although doctors will monitor her, Goble was given a clean bill of health after the June 20 surgery. Since the cancer was caught early it had not yet spread to her lymph nodes.
Doctors told her that had she waited another year to have her colonoscopy, the outcome might not have been as good. "I'm very thankful to Dr. Sorenson," she said.
As a result of the early detection of the cancerous polyp and successful surgery she avoided the inconvenience of chemotherapy and seven weeks after her surgery she was feeling pretty good.
The Lake Shore woman said she sometimes even feels guilty saying she had cancer because most people who have had the disease have suffered so much more. "I was very lucky," she said.
Goble, who was relieved her colon cancer hadn't spread, said it was scary to learn her polyp might be cancerous. She had always thought she might develop breast or ovarian cancer like her sisters.
"Colon cancer isn't bad if it's caught early," she said.
Goble said she feels a connection with other people and a certain responsibility to tell her story to help others.
She and her family moved to a wooded lot in Lake Shore from Andover in 2001. Goble and her husband, Rick, have a daughter, Carissa, who's in her 20s. She has made sure her daughter is aware of the need for cancer screenings. Goble said words of advice to her over-age-50 friends to get a colonoscopy are about the first words out of mouth.
She often advises acquaintances to get a colonoscopy because it's a simple procedure and the patient will either receive peace of mind from a good report or reap the benefits of catching cancerous polyps early.
Talking openly about cancer, Goble said is beneficial to everyone.
"I'm sad my mom died but her dying of colon cancer is probably what made me get a colonoscopy," she said.
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