Waterloo man shares story after cases of colon cancer increasing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo man shares story after cases of colon cancer increasing among young adults

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A Waterloo man is sharing his story about colon cancer in hopes that younger people will listen, after a shocking new study is released.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death for women, the second leading for men, according to American Cancer Society. A new study released this week shows colon and rectal cancers have increased dramatically among 20 and 30 year olds. Doctors aren't sure what is causing the spike in younger people but theories include poor diet, increased obesity or inactivity.

Dan Zilk was just 38 years old when he was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. 

"I don't wish this on anybody. Cancer, the chemo, and all the mental things I deal with day to day...it weighs heavy," he says.

He was sick for months with back pain, blood, abdominal pain, and night sweats. Doctors then discovered a large tumor, the size of his fist.

"When you hear cancer, you think you are going to die," he says. 

He has been cancer-free for three years.

Right now, colonoscopies aren't recommended until age 50, but the new study is sparking a conversation.

"I put off my colonoscopy because I thought I was too young and I didn't want to go through it, but I sucked it up and did it ....and I am glad I did it," he says.

Dan's younger sister was also diagnosed with colon cancer but thankfully doctors found it early. She is also now cancer-free.

March is colon cancer awareness month.

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