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Colon and Thyroid Cancer Survivor
April 16, 2009
Ernest Schloss, 60, went in for a routine colonoscopy screening at 56. With no family history of colon cancer and no symptoms or complaints, he expected the physician would find nothing. He was wrong.
"I had stage 3B advanced colon cancer without having a clue," he said.
After his treatment, he became an advocate for screening.
"I became a colonoscopy poster child," he said. "My second question after meeting new people after 'how are you?' is 'have you had your colonoscopy?' If I can contribute a little bit to helping people get over the fears of that and do it I consider that success."
A year later a PET scan followup found a hot spot on his thyroid. A biopsy showed that he had thyroid cancer, which was totally unrelated to the colon cancer. Again, he had no symptoms.
"It was shocking," he said.
Schloss, who used to work in healthcare administration, wants to use his experience to improve the treatment experience for other patients. He recently became an assistant professor in The University of Arizona College of Public Health and also works part time for William Crist, UA vice president for health affairs, coordinating clinical programs and activities at the Arizona Health Sciences Center.