Stage 4 colon cancer patient speaks out about colorectal cancer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Stage 4 colon cancer patient speaks out about colorectal cancer

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SEATTLE, WA - March is colorectal cancer awareness month: it is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. Now doctors at UW Medicine in Seattle say colon cancer is hitting a younger generation...millennials.

It has been a journey of many steps for 38-year-old Andrew Gregory and his wife, Emily, after Andrew's diagnosis of Stage 4 colon cancer.

"It was a bit of a 'come to Jesus' moment, a bit of a realization that things were about to change dramatically," Andrew said.

Colorectal cancer is something that older people worry about. But an American Cancer Society study found that colon cancer is increasing for 20 to 39-year-olds, even as it decreases for people over 55.

"I've dealt with stomach problems all my life and I just thought it developed into an ulcer," said Andrew.

Before his diagnosis, Andrew had nausea and stomach cramps, but never worried much about that. As his energy dwindled and he slept more, Emily kept at him to get a blood test and see a doctor.

"I am a typical guy, yes, an Advil will cure this and I don't want to go do a blood test," Andrew admitted.

When he finally got a blood test, results showed cancer. He underwent surgery at UW Medical Center.

"Listen to your body, pay attention to your stools," Emily said. "No one wants to talk about it, but it is so important to watch for symptoms because they don't do colonoscopies in younger people."

"To see her cry and see her upset, breaks me," said Andrew.

Even as he faces a terminal illness, Andrew takes comfort in thinking his experience could help someone else.

"Don't be scared, it is a scary thing trying to think about what could be, but avoiding it is worse, oh, much worse."

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