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Health

A Physician Warns of increasing colon cancer in young adults.

Dear Editor,

I am a local physician who was diagnosed with colon cancer at 45. I am putting on a fundraiser in spring 2018 with three other fellow survivors all diagnosed under the age of 50. I would like to take this opportunity to make readers aware of the event and also make them aware of warning signs. Colon cancer is the only cancer that is increasing in young adults, and we need to take action!

The date was September 1, 2016. It was a beautiful fall day, and I was on top of the world. I was 45, had a wonderful wife, a son Braden that was five, and my little princess, Fallon, was three. We were building our dream home, had two growing optometric businesses, and I was in the best physical shape I had been since college. I was going for a colonoscopy because I had intermittent bleeding, but was confident it was just hemorrhoids. I had seen my PCP, and she felt the same way, but we decided to do the scope just to be safe. When I awoke from the anesthesia, my life would never be the same.

The doctor showed me a picture of a large tumor in my rectum, and told me that I had cancer. My first thoughts were how I had let my family down, and that I wouldn’t be there for my kids. I will never forget sitting under a tree outside the office and calling my wife. “It’s just a bump in the road, and you will beat it,” was all she could say. I responded that it was the end of my road. I was told that I was “lucky” because it was only late stage III, with cancer spread to local lymph nodes. I was treated with oral chemo, radiation, IV chemo, and surgery over a nine-month period. I have rheumatoid arthritis which hinders my ability to fight the cancer, and to heal. I have a permanent ostomy, have had a life-threatening infection, and have had to have fluid drained from my pelvis twice. It is one year from my initial diagnosis and I have recently found out that my cancer has returned. This means the battle for my life will be tougher, but I will succeed. I have too many plans to fulfill.

Through all of this, I have learned that colorectal cancer is a cancer on the rise in young, otherwise healthy, individuals. If caught early, it is curable, but unfortunately, it is often caught too late. There isn’t enough awareness or money for research, and I want to change that. I want the next chapter of my life to be dedicated to saving people from having to go through what I have been through. This cancer effects, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and your kids. Let’s put our resources together and eradicate this disease from the face of the earth.

The Colon Club connects young adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer so they never have to feel alone. Our mission is to talk “poo” to as many people as possible, specifically young adults, educating about the risk factors, genetic precursors, and symptoms of CRC and to demand a COLONOSCOPY when it is appropriate for THEM! The Colon Club is a nonprofit organization with federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Our tax ID number is 06-1690953.

Help save our butts,

Dr. James Huber
412-359-9144

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