Christopher Dean health: Star left wondering if he would live or die after cancer scare

Dancing on Ice: Christopher Dean says ‘shut up you lot’

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After finishing what was thought to be the last ever series of Dancing on Ice, Dean started to experience “agonising” stomach pains. Admitting that he had never really experienced bad health, apart from skating injuries, the worried star sought medical attention. After having a routine medical examination, which involved a colonoscopy, the star was given frightening news: he had a two centimetres growth on his colon.

Having no idea what the growth – known medically as a polyp – meant, Dean was told that he would need to have further tests to establish if it was cancerous or not.

Speaking about his ordeal to The Mirror, Dean said: “I was told about the various types of polyps – hyperplastic and inflammatory polyps do not carry a risk of developing into cancer, but my doctor was convinced I had an adenoma or adenomatous polyp.

“Considered pre-cancerous, if left alone they can turn into colon cancer. I found myself preparing for the fact I might have a life-changing illness.

“For two weeks, I thought I might need a serious operation that would have involved taking away a good chunk of my stomach.

“It was the longest two weeks of my life not knowing if I was going to live or die – it was a scary prospect being faced with my own mortality.”

The Mayo Clinic explains that a colon polyp is made up of a small clump of cells that form the lining of the colon. Although most of the time polyps are harmless, over time some can develop into cancer, which may be fatal in its later stages.

As the polyp doesn’t usually cause any symptoms it is important that you have regular screening tests such as a colonoscopy in order to find colon polyps in their early stages.

The best prevention for colon cancer is regular screening for and removal of polyps.

The medical guidance website continues to add that if you experience any of the following, it is critical that you seek medical attention in order to find out the cause:

  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Change in stool colour.
  • Change in bowel habits.
  • Pain.
  • Iron deficiency anaemia.

A colonoscopy is a simple procedure that not only looks for polyps in your bowel, but also checks for the cause of symptoms and the possibility that an individual has another condition such as Crohn’s disease or bowel cancer.

The procedure itself takes about 30 to 45 minutes and consists of putting a thin, flexible tube with a small camera inside of your bottom. Air is then pumped in to open your bowels. The camera then checks the large bowel and any growths found will be removed.

Although anyone can develop a colon polyp, those over the age of 50, overweight, that smoke or have a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer are more at risk.

“Luckily, in the end the biopsy results came back and the polyp was benign and I didn’t need to have them removed. I can’t tell you the relief I felt and it really did help me put things into perspective about the previous skating injuries I had incurred,” Dean explained about his results.

“I have been told that I need to have a check-up every five years. But the body is an amazing tool and it strives to repair itself as much as it can.”

If Dean’s polyp had shown to be cancerous, he would have needed an operation to remove it, as well as a chunk of his stomach in the process.

The Mayo Clinic explains that colon cancer treatments depend on the location and stage of your cancer. Usually involving surgery, other possible treatments include radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

For more advanced colon cancer, surgery may involve removing part of your colon or stomach. Sometimes this can lead to individuals needing a permanent alternative way for waste to leave their body, such as through a colostomy bag.

Although not totally preventable, in order to greatly reduce your risk of colon polyps and colorectal cancer, individuals can adopt certain lifestyle changes.

These include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Taking Vitamin D
  • Exercising regularly
  • Genetic counselling.

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