Family Voluntarily Has Stomachs Removed to Avoid Cancer

Several members of a family with a history of stomach cancer have taken drastic measures to avoid getting the deadly disease.

Karen Schreiber of Wisconsin hadher stomach surgically removed six months ago at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, reported. Three months later, her brother Ken Chelcun underwent the same surgery.

The siblings made the decision after discovering they carried a gene mutation that leads to hereditary diffuse gastric cancer — or HDGC. It’s a disease that gets passed on from generation to generation.

Their mother Elaine Chelcun died of stomach cancer in 1982 at the age of 52. In 2007, their brother Greg Chelcun was diagnosed with the same disease. He died last month.The family discovered they carried the gene after Greg Chelcun tested positive while he was being treated in Texas.

"So we're six for seven who have tested positive,” Schreiber said. “Towards the end it was like we were expecting the results to come back positive."

As a result, Karen, Ken and Greg’s son Brian all got their stomachs removed.Karen's son Dan Crawford also plans on having the same surgery. In the meantime, the family has started a Web site to raise awareness about the disease.

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