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Keep Your Rear in the Clear
Date:3/11/2009

When polyps are detected, they can be removed before they become cancerous. Although screening for colon cancer often begins at age 50, colon cancer and other diseases of the colon can start much earlier. That was the case for Patricia Ann Kraus of Wayne, Michigan.

Kraus, now 45, was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago. She had a tumor that blocked nearly 100 percent of her colon. Kraus was treated and had life-saving minimally invasive surgery at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute resulting in a total abdominal colectomy, removing five feet of her colon. She never needed a colostomy bag.

Kraus has a family history of colon cancer. Her mother died at age 46 from the disease, as did her grandmother at age 32, her great grandmother at age 28, and most recently her sister at age 44. All of them had Lynch Syndrome, a rare inherited condition that increases the risk of colon cancer and other cancers. Lynch syndrome also causes colon cancer to occur at an earlier age.

"The hardest thing about colon cancer was seeing the people I love hurting -- those who were diagnosed with the disease and others who watched me and other loved ones suffer with it," said Kraus.

Kraus was the first women on her mom's side of the family to see her grandchildren born. She has four beautiful grandchildren, all under the age of three.

"I have a future, thanks to the wonderful care and ground-breaking treatment I received at the Karmanos Cancer Institute," said Kraus. "I am so grateful that I'm here to hug my children and grandchildren. Everyone should be this fortunate."

Kraus added, "No one is immune from this disease. We need to do everything we can to raise the awareness of colorectal health, including encouraging proper screenings and healthy eating habits to help save lives."

WHAT: The Colossal Colon(R)

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SOURCE Karmanos Cancer Institute
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