Metro Detroit cancer survivor shares story to raise awareness this National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Rich Kynast didn't get his first colonoscopy until he was 54 and started having symptoms that worried him.

"I’ll spare the details it was a colorectal symptom," he said. "Led to the diagnosis of colorectal cancer which led to a CT scan, which led to a diagnosis of spread to liver and lungs stage for daunting diagnosis."

The tumor was too large for surgery, so the medical team at Henry Ford Health came up with a plan.

"We made an individualized plan for him," said Dr. Craig Reickert, the Division Head of Colon & Rectal Surgery at HFH. "We used our multidisciplinary tumor board where we discussed his particular case the findings of the biopsy the findings of the imaging."

The data collected allowed the medical team to administer chemotherapy to attack the cancer.

"His tumors responded really well to the initial treatment with chemotherapy and that allowed us to then make the more advanced interventions with surgery to treat, not just where the tumor started but all of the places the tumor spread. " Reickert said.

Kynast had that surgery in January. This month, he traveled to South Carolina for vacation, where he has been active each day.

"We went to play tennis every day, and I’m feeling great," he said.

Kynast works as a teacher and will return to work on Monday. He hopes that during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month he can help educate people about the importance of getting a colonoscopy.

"There was a point where my tumors were polyps and could have been removed completely during a colonoscopy," he said.

Medical experts are now recommending the screening start at age 45 instead of 50.

"If you get checked for colon and rectal polyps, and we take them out before they turn into cancer with just doing things like a colonoscopy," Reickert said.