Ryan Murray from Austin Gastroenterology and colon cancer survivor Stacy Betancourt were on Inside Austin on Sunday, March 16 talking about Get Your Rear in Gear – Austin (their segment starts at minute 39).
A transcript of the interview is on Inside Austin’s website and below:
A lot of people don’t know that that’s why we’re. Now I’m trying to spread the word and it seems like that’s a difficult thing to do a lot of people maybe wanna talk about colon cancer that’s right so that’s why we approach it with a little bit of humor. And we do things like. And humorous approach. Re so let’s talk about this event that’s coming up — here rearing geared definitely gets your attention. It’s five K run walk for colon cancer. Is that right Ryan.
That’s right this is the sixth — — here in Austin since 2007. Austin Gastroenterology is the primary sponsor. And this year we have gotten more sponsors than we ever have or more volunteers. More openness is going to be the biggest one yet. And this year elect EU EU are the event director as well as the health information manager — gastroenterology so how has it been for you coordinating this event. It’s been surprisingly easy and all I’ve been doing is. Organizing. The — kindness and charity of others really have done a lot of support from the community. I’ve gotten to use student groups and UT — of altered help they’re gonna send. Maybe about forty people out to deal that’ll work everything’s grant. Everyday I get calls from people that have just seen and on the Internet — seeing posters. Offering to help in any way they can. Really at this point all I need help with this spreading the word and getting people there. So the five — takes place on Sunday march 30 everything kicks off at 8:30 in the morning are you looking for folks to participate individually or in teams or how does that work. Both the can be. Part of a team he can be an individual. That’s actually starting at eight rather than 830 into the the opening ceremony Stacy his with me now is going to be speaking. As well as set a couple of positions they’re going to be talking about the importance of screening. Cancer screening. And then that’s followed by a kid’s dash which is just the fun little run that the kids do around the parking lot. And then that’s immediately followed by the five K for runners and walkers. And wheelchairs and strollers out and — — conclusive yet. So colon cancer screening which you say that’s maybe like the last thing on people’s list of things to do today. Maybe so. That’s that’s one of the reasons that we’re getting out and trying to use the word because a lot of times colon cancer doesn’t have any symptoms at all. So a colonoscopy is the way to take a look and make sure everything’s okay.
If you’re just now joining us on and that costs and I am chatting with Ryan Murray he is the health information manager at Austin gastroenterology. And he’s also the event director. Get your career in two year. That is a five K fundraising event that’s taking place Sunday march 30.
I’m also here with Stacy Betancourt now — you are a colon cancer survivor right yes I am how well congratulations on that — for. And how did you find out that you have colon cancer did you have symptoms are like rants attic with its two most well. I actually did have symptoms. I had a lot of pain and there was just things that were like extreme air regularity. That I hadn’t had before and I went to a couple of doctors and they thought maybe it was. A pinched nerve or. A — — they bicker they weren’t sure what it was so it eventually let me just the gastroenterology. And she said you’re so young it sounds like irritable bowel syndrome but let’s do colonoscopy just to be sure. So we did it. A couple weeks later and she found it right away and within three days I was diagnosed. So was it that I’ve heard that you know have a colonoscopy if they see Apollo thirteen. — take care of that right away it was that your scenario not doing well she didn’t tell me right away — she says that I mean you could see the tumor — pictures and you could see that you right away and she couldn’t say what it was for sure but she said. She was very concerned and she had a biopsy she sped the process that. And like I said within two days I was diagnosed and it was a big shock I had I stayed at least ’cause you — on how old are you I — 28 I was diagnosed at 27. — can act play to win your first. Fear. Shocked. Justice I think it was just more shocked than anything because I’m so — disbelief I would — likely — you need to double check that test Nancy — can’t be right absolutely it was very very scary back. And how was that humor significant in size they said it’s not small. I can’t remember the size of men but. They staged it they thought it was a staged you know. But after further tests see it. They thought it was the stage for — that was even more shocking and I. Yeah it was surgery and then except for you don’t yet my first the first steps was radiation and chemotherapy and it to bat for about. Four weeks and believe. And then. I had the oft times and my body heal. I had surgery and then I healed from — for a few weeks and then waited some more chemotherapy and when — surgery. Took about a year about a year process of their treatment like math that’s really found intact and snacks and mark felt like a lot of not feeling well — — side effects of chemotherapy yes there was a lot of not feeling well lots of medicines to help. Alleviate some of the other side effects like nausea and — in. You know — just kind of have to go day by day and turn not to look too far ahead but — yes did you have a support system absolutely my family it was. So supporter. I have the best doctors say they were very Aaron. Perry — there with a good circle of friends my employer was. Unbelievably supportive I was going in and — treatment. — — had a lot of people Britain’s — that’s great and so now how long have you been cancer free going a six month.
That must feel pretty great it’s amazing it’s amazing how is this experience. Changed you in your daily life in your lifestyle. It changed how you’re eating has changed other aspects of life. Well luckily it hasn’t really changed she match Adam as far as like my diet. You know obviously trying to eat healthy get myself. Righty you know. It’s made me feel. So empowered. I feel stronger. I feel I feel like — this has totally changed from what I thought it was going to be. You know five years ago I never would have thought I’d be in this position but now. I see that there’s there’s something bigger for me and I think it’s having a voice and end. Just getting spreading awareness because there’s so many people that don’t listen to their bodies and I think that’s key. Listen to your body get yourself checked so you don’t. Have to beat you but you’re not sick in the end. Yeah if you feel like something’s wrong. Something’s probably wrong don’t ignore it and it’s great that you had a doctor that’s not how will years’ time that lets you — asking him I think a different position. It is sad yeah I mean your twenties and has hurt or stories of that they have the — parishioners. Just to get the colonoscopy done and it. A fairly simple procedure it’s not anything that. You know you’re in now couple hours that — tired and — in he’ll feel that you don’t hear it you know DA it’s nothing to be scared as. And — does seem to be him. Water resistance in our society to having a colonoscopy. Once or regularly and despite the fact that Katie Couric had one on national television. People still view that as an exit door and they’re not interested in having you know a tube inserted or reject — — that’s done that’s one of the reasons why — — in this.
You know the CDC says if the entire population was screened at the age of if the colon cancer deaths would immediately drop by 60%.
Wow and — summer and that’s. Yet and texas’ it’s pretty much a microcosm of the country as far as the rates. Of survivors. Survivorship and death. We had 3300 deaths in Texas from colon cancer. And almost 10,000 new cases pop up last year. A lot of those probably could have been no prevented despite earlier detection. The survival rate is 90% if you catch colon cancer and it’s beginning stages. And that that numbers drops off significantly. As as it progresses and a lot of times — those symptoms. You don’t know until it’s too late.
I guess in — — you were — that you had some symptoms you were feeling absolutely and my my story would have been very different how to act how to not had any symptoms. In what the doctors say given the fact that you were so young at the age of diagnosis are they seen some of that I mean is it a real anomaly. All the team with a lot of team of doctors that I have seen and I still see they they say that — and usual case. They’re optimistic. You know with somebody my age, they just don’t see it I think. The reason why they don’t feel younger people is because they’re not listening to their bodies there and likening screen or not. You know they don’t. They don’t know. They think it’s important to have this dialogue with young people so that they can start to be more aware and they know hey maybe I should go get get checked, like I said the doctors say I’m an usual but the AD. They’re glad that I have the sentence should recognize. The C dot. Her share.
You make such a good point Stacy about paying attention to your body and listening to what it’s telling you. It reminds me of a of a conversation I had with the position not that long ago that was talking about this very issue. And she had a patient comes to her that said with a bandage on her face and she said you know I’ve had this irritation on my face — awhile and I decided it’s finally time — — get it looked at. She — OK so doctor — the bandage off her face and examining her put her finger right through her cheek into her bone she actually had a hole in her face. Talk about somebody who really but not in touch with their body as an extreme example but. If you if you’re listening to your inner voice in your feeling like something’s trying even if you’ve been to one or two doctors and years. Here you’re in her voice is still telling you last may not getting that you need to keep telling you need to push through. Wonderful stacy that you had a really positive experience with a doctor that was like this you know this is probably going on May be a little overboard but let’s have the colonoscopy– and — mean it was just in the.
Doctors before they just kind of they were guessing obviously they don’t know but they never thought. You need to go meet a Gastro and relatives they just kind of said okay it’s a pinched nerve would be sent pain pills but that that did not. Alleviate. Any of my sentence so I’m glad I posted my doctor was willing to to hit — attacked. it’s important for everyone to get colonoscopy screenings.
I guess starting at age fifty that’s that’s the guideline that’s your best — general recommended age. It rates have actually been dropping since the eighties but. The amount of incidents in young people is increasing. So there’s there’s a little bit of a trade off there as far as. And screening and awareness efforts which are working because that’s dropping the overall rate young more young people are getting it so. That’s kind of and the dichotomy of the situation or cancer in this country.
Generally. If you don’t have any symptoms or family history. Fifty is a recommended age to get a colonoscopy — everything checks out he might be recommended to get another one in three seven or ten years. I’m just it you know keep keep vigilant about watching it. However African Americans. Are recommended at an earlier age. And there’s there’s really no known no reason for that it’s just it’s just a numbers game and so. You know 45-50 is when — — start generally thinking about it if you don’t have any symptoms. You have symptoms like an unexplained weight loss changed — habits. — And unexplain fatigue– things like. And it’s it’s generally good justice. And check out. Always and in the — that you might not have to get a colonoscopy but it’s worth you know just go on in and saying hey something’s not right.
Right and to not be discouraged because if you have a change in bowel habit that’s not something you wanna talk about. Ready and that that the doctor has seen adults so you have to be embarrassed that anything. Getting ahead of which is why would — do approach it with a little bit of humor. Yeah that’s right and it makes a lot of sense if you’re just joining us here on Inside Austin and speaking with Bryan Murray he’s the health information manager at Austin gastroenterology. Also the event director of get your rear in gear — aptly named. March is colon cancer awareness month. And there is a fund — taking place on Sunday march 30 at 8 AM. And that’s taking place at Austin Endoscopy North.
So this is really an important event focused on raising awareness about colon cancer here in the central Texas. And you’re invited to participate whether colon cancer has affected you or not. And we’re talking about how important it is to make sure. That you get screen even now that is probably not on your list of things to do today. Important to doif you have symptoms that he had change in bowel habit have to teach some of the symptoms that Ryan has just mentioned. And certainly had any issues don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it and make sure that everything’s okay that is what’s Stacy Betancourt did. And she’s sitting here today. As a colon cancer survivor and Stacy you’re speaking at the five K on Sunday march 30?
That is correct and very excited looking forward to — and share your stories so that people can kind of understand hey you know just because you’re under fifty doesn’t mean — necessarily out of the clear absolutely. Current one have. Raise the flag if you well and say hey look this this can happen and you’re not alone expecting to be scared about just. Get yourself out there and get yourself checked.
So folks are not going to be in town the weekend of march 30 but maybe they want to make a financial contribution. What would be the best place confident — can do that Ryan. Well they can be avert a virtual runner for the 5K. It’s 25 dollars for adults and fifteen for children under eighteen. They go to colon cancer coalition.org. And then look for the Austin race — — — and sign up you can make you can make a contribution of any amount that you want. Or it can be — a virtual runner which you get a tshirt in a package which which somebody actually showed up with it. And the money will go to the colon cancer coalition. Who will [distribute funds] back in Austin. — that’s important and the money stays local yes and it’s this year we’re going to be benefiting the cancer support community of central Texas
if you wanna be a virtual router that’s great because there’s really no reason not to participate then. Colon cancer coalition dot org colon cancer coalition dot org is the last thing okay and it.
And we’re having an official after party at third base at the north — — northwest location — Immediately after the race — nice so let’s sit become an ever race bib. In the — donate 10% of your tab to. Of the laws.
Sounds like a nice thing to do to get up early take on the day go out there with Stanley thinks kick off at 8 o’clock he says eight to ten in the you’ll be done. Any time or lunch and then you can have a nice little branch eulogy at third — and it didn’t even get a good celebrate you’ve exercise that you done and and your hard work and and — efforts. Raising colon cancer awareness of answer
is there anything else that you want folks to know. About the events or colon cancer awareness month. Well I would just like to think Austin a large. I have had an outpouring of support. — from restaurants, bars, businesses. People, volunteers up the street people walking by we — of we had a fund raiser at the Clive Bar On one of the really cold icy days and we still raise a lot of money in had a great turnout and we had a a band who’s donated their set. — charged and we auctioned off some items and had a raffle and as big success and Austin’s a big city that we still have the community mentality sometimes and I amazement that. And we mean that that sounds great.
Stacy is there anything else you’d like says share with anyone here might be feeling afraid of getting a colonoscopy or just not wanting to face that possibility. I would probably say you know don’t. To not be afraid to ask the questions don’t be afraid to see doctor don’t be afraid of the test like I said earlier. You can’t see it you can’t hear it there’s nothing to it. You know I think for people who are our. Having the symptoms are about how their test just to have have an open mind and you know if bears if it is cancer or even if you just knows someone who’s had it. Just remember you’re not alone you know there’s people you talk to — great organizations that can help. You know there’s just there’s always something there’s always somebody that can help you get through it so you know just like I said just don’t be scared and seek the help.
Stacy Betancourt thank you so much for being here and sharing your story of survival so openly and appreciate it you’re welcome thanks for having me and Ryan Murray from the Austin gastroenterology. And event director of get your rear in gear that’s coming up March 30 at Austin Endoscopy North.