Colon Cancer Survivor Drives Home The Message About Early Screening

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A retired Philadelphia police detective is among those the American Cancer Society is recognizing during this Colon Cancer Awareness Month. He’s a survivor, and now volunteering to transport cancer patients to their medical appointments.

Colon cancer is a leading killer, even though it’s highly treatable if found in its early stages. Most people should start getting screened for colorectal cancer at age 50.

Andy Lara was 71 in 2010 when he was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer.

“I was advised by my doctor to get a colonoscopy and I just kept putting it off,” Lara says.

Andy now wishes that he would have listened and not waited so long for his first colonoscopy. But through aggressive treatment, he’s gaining back his strength, and he’s now giving back to those in a similar circumstance.

“My volunteer work at the Hope Lodge is to drive patients from the lodge to area hospitals for treatment.”

The AstraZeneca Hope Lodge in Cheltenham provides free lodging for cancer patients to ease the stress of the cancer journey and the financial challenge of receiving lifesaving treatment.

After spending 33 years on the force, Andy knows all the short-cuts.

“I worked the entire city. So, it comes in handy when there’s a traffic jam.”

He also knows the best scenic routes.

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