New clothes, notebooks and a cool backpack are top of mind for most kids heading back to school.
You wouldn’t expect colon cancer to even pop up on a middle schooler’s radar, unless you’re a young ohio girl with a genetic link that can’t be ignored.
12-year-old Ansleigh Adkins is your typical pre-teen. She enjoys time with her family and keeping up with friends. That is, until doctors gave her some a-typical news.
“I was kind of shocked like I didn’t know how to react.“ she said.
Ansleigh found out she carries a hereditary gene putting her at high risk for colon cancer. her late aunt and dad carry the gene too.
Dr. Matthew Kalady of Cleveland Clinic said, “Her family has a known history of colon cancer and a syndrome called familial adenomatous polyposis or F-A-P.“
F-A-P is a rare genetic syndrome causing polyps to form in the colon at a young age and carries a 100% chance of getting colon cancer if left untreated.
“Ansleigh had over thousands of polyps in her colon" Dr. Kalady said, "Her colon is about 3 feet long and when you think about all the polyps in there, there’s very little spots of normal lining of the colon. “
Crystal Adkins, Ansleigh’s Mother said, “Such a tiny kid. How can all of those be festering inside? It’s kind of like a ticking time bomb.”
As a way to prevent colon cancer, Ansleigh’s entire colon was removed surgically through a small 2-inch incision at cleveland clinic.
“We took care of the vast majority of the cancer risk by taking her colon out.” said Dr. Kalady.
Now on the mend, she hopes her experience will encourage others to pay attention to family history and most importantly, get screened.
“You want to make sure you’re healthy and everything. You don’t want to be sick your whole life.” she said.
Ansleigh is feeling great and looking forward to starting 8th grade.
As far as her colon goes, she’ll need the small remaining section scoped once every year to make sure there’s no sign of polyps.