Young Father Raising Awareness after Colorectal Cancer Scare (PKG)

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. A young father shares his story after doctors discovered more than a hundred polyps in his colon.

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CLEVELAND – As a financial advisor, husband and father of five, Dan Gut keeps pretty busy, so when he started having bowel issues, he didn’t think much of it.

“I always thought maybe it was what I was eating or like lactose intolerance,” recalled Dan.

But, the 39-year-old’s symptoms persisted and his wife grew concerned.

“It progressively kept getting a little bit worse and a little bit worse, and that’s when I mentioned it to my wife and she was like, ‘You gotta get checked out’,” he said.

It didn’t take long before his doctors at Cleveland Clinic discovered what was wrong. He had more than a hundred polyps in his colon and was at high risk for colorectal cancer.

“Because of the large number of polyps and each one of them having the potential to turn into cancer, the best treatment would be removing all of the colon, leaving the rectum in place and then hooking up the small intestine to the rectum,” explained David Liska, MD, colon and rectal surgeon at Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Liska performed Dan’s surgery and said everything went well.

“It’s a large surgery, but we do it minimally invasively, meaning very small incisions,” he said. “So the recovery is actually not as bad as you think it would be and people do very well with having that part of the colon removed.”

Dan is now back at work and hasn’t had any other problems.

“I literally feel better than I did before the surgery,” he said.

But, he does have one regret.

“Probably something I should have done a long time ago was just get regular checkups,” said Dan.

Especially with colorectal cancer cases on the rise in young adults. Dr. Liska said they aren’t sure what’s causing the trend.

“There are many different theories. It’s definitely related to what we eat, but it’s possibly also related to the microbiome, the bacteria that live in our guts,” he said.

Currently, colorectal cancer screenings are recommended for individuals 45 and older. However, Dr. Liska said if you have certain medication conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, a family history of colorectal cancer or advanced polyps, you should get checked out sooner.

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