Tags: woman | preventive | total gastrectomy

Woman Has Stomach Removed to Prevent Hereditary Cancer

(YouTube/Channel 5 Bismarck)

By    |   Wednesday, 31 January 2018 02:12 PM

A woman had preventive total gastrectomy surgery to remove her stomach 16 months ago and said she felt better than ever, and without the threat of a hereditary cancer that killed her mother at 44 and her grandfather.

In 2014, Heather Huus, of Lincoln, North Dakota, learned at age 30 that she had tested positive for the gene linked to hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, or HDGC, the same diseased that killed her relatives, Self magazine reported.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, women who test positive for a mutation in the CDH1 gene — the one most commonly linked to HDGC — have a 56 percent to 83 percent chance of developing the cancer at some point during their life.

The society's website said men's rates were even worse, with a 70 percent to 80 percent chance of getting the cancer.

Huus told Self that she actually felt relieved when the test came back.

"If it had been inconclusive, I think I would have stayed worried my entire life," said Huus, who is married and has a young daughter, "Instead, testing positive let me know where I stood in terms of the odds. And that I had to do something."

The Bismarck Tribune reported that Huus had the surgery in August 2016. Her stomach was removed and her esophagus was attached directly to the small intestine. She started on a liquid diet and gradually worked her way up to solid foods, needing to chew more thoroughly along with taking vitamins and B12 injections once a month.

She said five other family members have tested positive for the mutated gene and three have followed suit with the same surgery.

"Stomach cancer is a long neglected disease, primarily because the majority of cases are outside the United States," Jon Florin, executive director for No Stomach For Cancer, which was founded in 2009 by a woman who discovered the CDH1 mutation in her family, per the Tribune. "Bringing awareness to stomach cancer is vital for prevention and vital for survival."

While she lost 125 pounds and is eating healthier, there are serious challenges to what Huus called her "new normal," Self and the Tribune said.

Since she doesn't have stomach acids to break food down or warning signs telling her she's hungry, she has to remind herself to eat before becoming fatigued or developing a shaky feeling, Self said.

Huus said, according to the magazine, that food packed with sugar, like cheesecake, causes her to feel "drunk," and develop double vision, forcing her to read labels on everything she eats to avoid sugar as much as possible.

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A woman had preventive total gastrectomy surgery to remove her stomach 16 months ago and said she felt better than ever, and without the threat of a hereditary cancer that killed her mother at 44 and her grandfather.
woman, preventive, total gastrectomy
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2018-12-31
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 02:12 PM
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