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Sioux Falls woman shares surprise diagnosis during Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 10:49 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month or as many people know it Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

For many years the common thought on being checked for colon cancer was to be screened regularly once you have turned 50, but now some doctors suggest being screened even earlier.

The American Cancer Society and the United States Preventative Task Force are recommending colon cancer screenings start at age 45.

“Anyone can have it even if you do not have any signs or symptoms. So, you can be totally normal, you can have completely normal bowel movements no abominable pain nothing and you can still have it,” said Dr. Antonios Wehbeh, of Sanford Health.

Colon cancer has a survival rate of 90% if caught in the early stages. Despite that, it is still one of the deadliest cancers.

“Colon Cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths, so there are about 50,000 people who die every year from colon cancer so that’s a high number,” said Dr. Wehbeh.

Doctors say there has been a recent increase in the number of younger people getting colon cancer, which is the case for Aarika Maisak, a colon cancer patient.

“I have no family history at all so colon cancer was absolutely the last thing on my mind I thought I would ever be diagnosed with,” said Maisak.

She was diagnosed at the age of 34.

“After I delivered my baby, I had a colonoscopy 2 weeks post birth and that’s when they found my tumor, but until then the symptoms were incredibly minimal, I had no indication that so significant as stage 4 cancer,” said Maisak.

After finding out about the cancer, her battle has been long fought.

“It’s been a really long road of chemotherapy and surgeries, so as of tomorrow I will actually have my 26th round of chemotherapy,” said Maisak.

Aarika remains strong and continues fighting for her kids.

“Who knows, we don’t know what’s possible in the future what treatments are available to me, there minimal to me at this point after being at it for so long but you know I’m going to keep kicking along and seeing what I can do,” said Maisak.

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