Father’s Day is a day for backyard barbeques, pool parties and endless fun in the sun — but for William Myers of Greencastle, it’s another day to remember his daughter, Dawn.
“To lose a daughter at age 29 is the hardest thing I have ever done. To see her go down-hill in just one year — it was just terrible,” said Myers.
Dawn was trying to make Myers a grandfather when she was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer. She had no symptoms when doctors discovered the cancer in 2008. She died a year later.
Dawn’s death inspired William and other members of his family to start taking their screenings seriously.
“What went through my mind was, you know you got to go,” said Myers.
He scheduled a colonoscopy.
Myers says colon cancer runs in his family; he had a great aunt and an uncle who passed away from the disease. Faced with that history, he goes for his colonoscopy at WellSpan Digestive Health every five years.
“It’s not that bad, the worst part is the prep for the procedure,” Myers said. “I was put to sleep, and when I woke up it was like I had a really good nap.”
“Colon cancer has a strong genetic connection to family. A colonoscopy is the best chance for us to see what is going on. The initial screening is recommended at age 50, but if there’s a family history, we should really see people sooner than that,” explained Andrew Lininger, certified registered nurse practitioner at WellSpan Digestive Health.
“Andrew and the staff at WellSpan Digestive Health did a good job in explaining everything to me. They answered all my questions,” said Myers.
Colon cancer is the most beatable and preventable cancer when detected early. Symptoms include abdominal pain and tenderness, diarrhea, blood in the stool and weight loss.
Almost all colon cancers start in the lining of the colon and rectum.
“There’s no one single cause for colon cancer. All cancers in this part of the body begin as noncancerous polyps, which over time develop into cancer. In addition to family history, risk factors include age, diet, tobacco use and inflammatory bowel disease,” said Lininger.
“If you have a family history, you need to get checked,” Myers advised, “You just need to get it done."