Press Release

Two Clevelanders Diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer in their Mid-Twenties Prepare for the 2017 Cleveland Undy Run/Walk

Cleveland, OH (Sept. 8, 2017) – Cleveland residents Darcy Egan and Eric Lucas have two things in common: they were both in their mid-twenties when they were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and they are both determined to spread the word about what was once considered an “old man’s disease.” They have each formed teams that will be participating in Colon Cancer Alliance’s 2017 Cleveland Undy Run/Walk on Sept. 30 at The Flats at East Bank.

“I had been having colorectal problems when I was in college, so I went to see a doctor. The doctor thought I was too young for it to be serious, but it didn’t go away,” said Lucas. “When I found out about the diagnosis, I was confused about why no one would have taken the initiative to investigate and be proactive.”

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, colorectal cancers are on the rise in adults under the age of 55. However, the recommended age to begin screening for colorectal cancer is 50, unless you have a family history. With no family history of colorectal cancer, the potential for diagnosis flew under the radar for both Lucas and Egan.

Egan, who is physically active, went to the doctor for a routine check-up. During that check-up, her primary care physician recommended that she see a gastroenterologist who would later perform her colonoscopy.

"This was my first time hearing about familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), the disease that led to my colorectal cancer diagnosis. I had no symptoms. I was a little pale, so initially the doctors thought that I might’ve been anemic,” said Egan.

Although the two have yet to meet, they’re both patients at Cleveland Clinic, which is a leader in colorectal cancer treatment and research. Cleveland Clinic is a long-time sponsor of the Undy Run/Walk, an event that draws hundreds of participants each year, the majority of whom have a connection to colorectal cancer.

Every year, participants hit the trails in fun outfits in a show of solidarity and support for colorectal cancer patients, survivors and their families. Funds raised from the Cleveland Undy Run/Walk go toward supporting the mission of the Colon Cancer Alliance whose goal is to knock colon cancer out of the top three cancer killers by championing prevention, funding cutting-edge research and providing the highest quality patient support services.

“Colorectal cancer is both preventable and curable with the appropriate screening and interventions. We are dedicated to raising awareness and starting conversations about this disease with the ultimate goal of saving lives. The last two years of this race in Cleveland have been amazing. It is incredible to see so many people participate and support the cause in what is a very fun event. It is also important to note that a portion of the funds raised stay right here in Cleveland for the benefit of our community,” said Matthew Kalady, M.D., director of The Sanford R. Weiss, MD, Center for Hereditary Colorectal Neoplasia and co-director of the Colorectal Cancer Program at Cleveland Clinic.

For his first Undy Run, Lucas formed a team called “the Crimson Butts,” a fun ode to the time he spent undergoing radiation treatment. Egan and her team, “Darcy and the Polyps,” will be participating for the second year in a row with the goal of beating her record from last year. At the 2016 Cleveland Undy Run/Walk, she raised $9,000 with a team of 120 people.

"We try to make it as lighthearted as possible. I hope the fun element makes it easier for people to talk about it,” says Egan. “Whether you think you’re in perfect health or not, make sure you pursue these symptoms.”

In the state of Ohio, 5,450 residents are expected to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 2,140 residents are expected to pass away as a result of colorectal cancer. However, colorectal cancer is highly treatable, if detected early.

About the Colon Cancer Alliance

The Colon Cancer Alliance is a national nonprofit committed to ending colon cancer within our lifetime. Working with our nation of passionate advocates, we are empowered to support the needs of patients and survivors, eager to raise awareness of preventative screening, and poised to help fund critical research. We are fiercely determined to end colon cancer once and for all.

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