We have a follow-up story on a state legislator from Sioux Falls who wants to put a face on colorectal cancer. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on Manny Steele and his very personal battle with rectal cancer.
Manny Steele found out in December of 2011 the reason he had persistent diarrhea was actually the result of rectal cancer. He went through nearly a month of simultaneous radiation and chemo therapy at the Avera Cancer Institute to shrink the tumor hoping that when he returned home to Sioux Falls from Pierre (Representing Dist. 12) after the 2012 legislative session he wouldn't need surgery.
"That wasn't to be Nancy. They did what they could do and when the checked again it needed surgery," Manny said.
On March 5, 2012 Manny went under the knife to have his tumor removed. Dr. Scott Baker with the South Dakota Surgical Institute performed the surgery at Avera McKennan.
"We did an abdominoperineal resection and basically that means you take the bottom part of the colon called the rectum out and remove that segment," Dr. Baker said.
Along with the rectum, Dr. Baker also removed about 10 inches of Manny's colon.
"It was so close to the rectum they couldn't salvage any of the anus muscles for the rectum because of them they took out the whole thing and re-tubed it through my stomach. You don't sit on the stool anymore because you have a different route. For health reasons I suspect they sew up your back side. They sew up your butt since you don't need it anymore," Manny said.
The upside is they got all the cancer. The downside is Manny will have a colostomy bag attached to his belly for the rest of his life. A life he is grateful to still have bag or not.
"You go on with life. And life deals you these kinds of stumbling blocks and you either trip over them or you step on top of them and go over. My preference is I have a lot of things I want to do. I'm too young for this. I have too many things I want to do yet," Manny said.
Manny is open about this because he wants you to be aware of the importance of colonoscopies; a simple screening that should start at the age of 50 if you don't have any family history of colon cancer.
"That's the key. Dr. Baker did an excellent job on surgery but you still don't want to go see Dr. Baker with what you go through," Manny said.
"If you catch it before it becomes cancer than you can remove it with a colonoscope or some other means you can avoid a big surgery like this and of course that would decrease your risk of cancer spreading to other organs, "Dr. Baker said.
Thankfully Manny's cancer didn't spread. He doesn't mind being candid about what he's gone through if it helps spread the word about colon cancer prevention.
The next couple of years Manny will have to do follow-up testing every 3 to 6 months to make sure the cancer hasn't come back.
Call 605-322-7797 to schedule your colonoscopy today or visit http://www.avera.org/clinics/digestive-disease/services/colonoscopy.aspx