A 26-year-old North Carolina man has taken the drastic step of having his stomach removed to prevent a rare stomach cancer that runs in his family, ABC News reported Monday.
Brian Chelcun, of Huntersville, N.C., had his stomach removed two weeks ago at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital.
The procedure may seem extreme, but for Chelcun, it was a no-brainer.
"I was seeing my dad go through the effects of having stage IV stomach cancer," Chelcun, whose father died Feb. 8 of the disease, told ABC News. "Here's a chance to avoid (getting) something that is a hard and difficult thing to cure."
Chelcun's family, on his father's side, carries a rare genetic mutation that leads to an increased risk of developing gastric cancer, which is hard to diagnose and has a five-year survival rate of just 24 percent.
Chelcun's aunt and uncle also had their stomachs removed to avoid the cancer. Prior to having a gastrectomy, the clinical name for removal of the stomach, one of Chelcun's twice annual biopsies detected potentially cancerous cells.
Without a stomach, he will be limited to eating very small meals and could lose up to 20 percent of his body weight.