More than 600,000. That is the number of surgical procedures performed to treat colon diseases within the United States each year. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer amongst men and women.

Colorectal cancer, colon polyps, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and many other conditions often require colon surgery. One of the most advanced methods for removing part of the colon is by laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgeries create smaller incisions, are less invasive, less painful and offer quicker recovery.

Loren Kittelson, a retired farmer, discovered blood in his stool in February. It was in that moment he realized he should not have skipped his colonoscopy in 2017.

At age 75, this was Kittelson’s second colonoscopy in his life.

Due to a rise in colorectal cancer rates displaying in younger generations, the American Cancer Society now recommends that adults receive screenings for colorectal cancer beginning at age 45 instead of 50. However, for individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer, it is already advised to begin screening prior to age 50.

“Dr. (James) Torrance, Dr. (Christopher) Maki and Brady Anderson went above and beyond all of my expectations,” Kittelson said. “They explained the procedure in a way my wife, Betty, and I could understand. They even drew a map out for us on paper.”

The blood in Kittelson’s stool was suspicious for colorectal cancer, and it was bleeding into his digestive tract. So in May, General Surgeon, Dr. Christopher Maki removed 16 inches of Kittelson’s colon as part of a bowel resection.

“Any procedure can be nerve-wracking for a patient,” Dr. Maki said. “My team and I do our best to exceed expectations and one way of doing this is by making certain our patients feel comfortable and knowledgeable about their procedure.”

Since they didn’t talk much about health history back in the “olden days,” Kittelson said with a smile, he never knew about his family history. And because everyone is susceptible, he encouraged his four sons to schedule their colonoscopies and have conversations with their primary care providers.

“Run, don’t walk,” Kittelson said. “With Johnny-on-the-spot teams, like Dr. Maki’s, why wait to have a colonoscopy? The care at Jamestown Regional Medical Center is phenomenal. Plus, the food was great. I always gobbled it up!”

Since surgery, Kittelson is up and moving around after his procedure and cannot wait to get back to raising geese, cows and spending time with his wife and dog, Patches.

Having lived in a rural area, Kittelson not only enjoyed the excellent care that JRMC has to offer, but also its landscape and views.

“JRMC has the same soothing aesthetic and views that our home has. This is also a place where doctors and nurses respect you,” Kittelson said.