LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — Something doctors don't want you to leave off the calendar this year neither does Dave Pitt.
"You've got to go have a colonoscopy," Pitt said.
The latest recommendation from doctors is that all adults have their first colonoscopy by the time they're 45. Pitt was diagnosed with colon cancer at 73.
"I refused help that was available 20 years ago, and I wouldn't have had to go through what I went through if I had gone and got it checked out," he said.
On a hiking trip last year, Pitt came down with unusual symptoms.
"I was clammy, sweaty, I had no energy. And I really thought I had perhaps had COVID, although I had been vaccinated and boosted," he said.
Little did he know, perhaps turning down two decades' worth of colonoscopies got him here. He said preparing for the cancer screening is what stopped him from ever getting one.
"I had been told all the things you needed to drink and [about] the procedure and I just didn't want to do that," he said.
Getting a Stage 2 colon cancer diagnosis in 2021 changed his tune. Pitt said his gastroenterologist Dr. Brendan O'Hare at Ascension Saint Thomas broke the news.
"Nothing has blown me away like [hearing] 'Mr. Pitt, you have cancer.' Because at my age, you didn't know how long I had, and then when I started telling people this, friends, whatever, their countenance just totally changed and they said 'Oh, I'm sorry. I'll pray for you,'" he said.
Pitt had his colon cancer removed at TriStar Summit Medical Center by Dr. Alex Furin. The doctor was able to remove the cancer successfully without a colostomy. Five months later, Pitt is cancer-free and back to walking 3 miles almost every day.
"Don't wait until you're sick, don't wait until something else is happening," he said.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.