When detected early, the survival rate for stage 1 or stage 2 colon cancer is about 90%, but this drops off vastly when caught in later stages, such as stage 3 or 4. Between 1998 and 2007 colorectal cancer cases have dropped steadily in adults over 50, but they increased by more than 2% each year in younger adults—Despite no family history, Ed Yakacki was barely 30 years old when he was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer that had spread into his liver and three inches into his colon.
MJ: How did you feel when you first received the diagnosis?
EY: I thought my life was over, really. I kept thinking ‘I’m only 30 years old, I haven’t even lived my life yet.’ I tried to process it, but I didn’t know what to think.
MJ: What would you tell someone who just got their cancer diagnosis today?
EY: The first thing I would say is that it’s definitely not a death sentence; it is manageable and you just have to think about what you’re fighting for. You have to advocate for yourself. I would also tell them that creating small goals is so important. This last time, on my birthday, I found out in the morning that my wife was pregnant with our first child. That afternoon, I was told that I had cancer for the third time. An aggressive bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. All I knew was that I wanted to meet my son. My wife would say “I don’t want you talking like that.” But I told her, “Listen, this isn’t my long-term goal--it’s just a goal.” Small goals are what keep you going.
"The key to beating this is patience, listening to the people that are in charge of whatever your treatment strategy is, and keeping the faith that tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Today might be a bad day, but there are good times within the day," Ed says.
Keep on the lookout for Ed Yakacki's entire interview in the March 2020 issue of EndoEconomics.