SALEM (WSLS 10) - Brian Wray remembers when he heard the news.
"It was the hardest news I've ever received," he said. "I couldn't believe it. Didn't want to believe it, scared. You know you hear the word cancer first and comes to your mind am I going to make it."
The now 40-year-old was having symptoms last summer. It wasn't the first time.
The same thing happened five years earlier, he said.
Doctors didn't find cancer then and said Brian wouldn't have to get checked again until he was 50. That's the age recommended for screening for most adults.
But symptoms returned and he didn't ignore them that time either.
"It was fine five years ago, but back in June when I went in for another colonoscopy, they found a tumor," he said.
"Right now it's stage four, but it's treatable. Doctors feel like it was caught early and it's treatable curable cancer."
He's been through more than five weeks of radiation and oral chemotherapy. He's receiving IV chemo treatment now.
"I have four more before surgeries and then six more after surgery," he explained.
But through it all, Brian remains positive.
"I am. That's the one thing I'm doing is being positive having a good attitude about it being upbeat."
He's also staying strong in his faith.
"I have a strong faith in God as well to get me through it. I'm just praying, staying in the Word and relying on his promises that are in the Bible."
Brian is also sharing his own words of wisdom when it comes to taking symptoms seriously and getting checked for cancer when it's most likely to be curable.
While many of the symptoms of colon cancer can also be caused by something that isn't cancer, such as infection, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, or inflammatory bowel disease, most people who have these symptoms do not have cancer, according to American Cancer Society.
If you have any of these problems, it is a sign that you should go to the doctor so the cause can be found and treated, if needed, according to ACS:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
- Rectal bleeding
- Dark stools, or blood in the stool (often, though, the stool will look normal)
- Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
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