Retired Dysart businessman Terry Trunck thought he had heart problems. He was short of breath and just felt tired all the time. So he went to the cardiologist. It turned out that his heart was fine. But a colonoscopy soon confirmed he had colon cancer.
He was quickly scheduled for surgery at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo. Removing about a foot of his intestine took care of the cancer there, but it had already spread to his lymph nodes. This required a six-month series of chemotherapy treatments. These were completed about a year ago. Current tests show he is cancer-free and he returns for screening every three years. Terry Trunck is a success story and a cancer survivor who will enjoy more birthdays.
Trunck considers himself very fortunate that the cancer was caught early and that he had little or no reaction to the chemo treatments. He had never had a colonoscopy prior to this incident, but hopes his experience will encourage others to be tested early, beginning at age 50.
For more than 65 years, the American Cancer Society(ACS) has been finding answers to critical questions about colorectal cancer (commonly called colon cancer) what causes it, how can it be prevented, detected, and treated successfully, and how colon cancer patients' quality of life can be improved.
These efforts have contributed to substantial decreases in colon cancer mortality over the past two decades. Despite this progress, colon cancer is still the third-deadliest cancer in the US, and the American Cancer Society is committed to saving more lives from this lethal disease. ACS research has led to several important discoveries that provide hope for the future.
In the 1990s research funded by the American Cancer Society identified the gene causing inherited colon cancer, revealed that diets high in calcium and low-fat dairy products lower the risk of colon cancer, proved the preventative power of a daily aspirin, and developed the first-line drug for treating colon cancer. Thanks to the generous support of donors, the American Cancer Society is now funding 119 grants with almost $50 million for research to help save more lives from colon cancer.
More than 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are expected in the United States this year Colon cancer is one of only two cancers (the other is cervical cancer) that can actually be prevented through screening. Precancerous polyps small growths on the lining of the colon or rectum can be removed before they turn into cancer. Half of all colon cancer deaths could be prevented if all Americans followed current screening guidelines, which recommend average- risk people begin screening at age 50. The decrease in mortality rates from colon cancer correlate strongly with the increase in screening.
The Relay for Life of Tama County will be held at the South Tama track on Saturday afternoon, June 14. Join this fundraiser to help the research and support activities of the American Cancer Society. For more information on this local event contact Ashley Bohlen, Tama/Toledo, 641-484-0204; Marilyn Svoboda, Clutier, 319-479-2732; Karen Symonds, Dysart, 319-476-7762; Luane Lorenzen, Traer, 319-231-0820or Neal.Bohnet@cancer.org, the American Cancer Society partner for Tama County.