Family removes stomachs to fight rare stomach cancer - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Family removes stomachs to fight rare stomach cancer


MADISON (WKOW) -- Six months ago Karen Schreiber decided to get her stomach removed. She did it to prevent getting a disease that runs in the family.

Karen's mother Elaine Chelcun died of stomach cancer in 1982 at the age of 52.

In 2007, her brother Greg Chelcun was diagnosed with the same disease.

"My mom had it my brother had it. So we started looking for answers," Karen Schreiber says.

And what they discovered was devastating.

While seeking treatment in Texas, Greg tested positive for a mutation that leads to hereditary diffuse gastric cancer- or HDGC. A disease that gets passed from generation to generation.

"I think we were pretty suprised when it came back positive," Schreiber says.

Karen got tested immediately. The results came back positive, and she wasn't alone.

"So we're six for seven who have tested positive.. towards the end it was like we were expecting the results to come back positive."

Karen and two other family members got their stomach's removed to prevent getting the rare disease.

But before Greg Chelcun's son Brian's surgery, Greg passed away.

"It was really hard for him, with the grief of losing his father and facing the surgery," Shreiber says.

Karen's son Dan Crawford plans on having the same surgery. He says he has extra incentive.

His new daughter Addison.

"I want to be there for my kids. I want to live a long live and there a lot of things to die from in this world and at least it won't be from this," Dan Crawford says.

There is a 50-50 chance Dan could pass the mutation to his new born daughter, but he won't know until she turns 18. That's the minimum age for testing.

In the meantime, the family has started a website to raise awareness about the disease.

"Knowledge gives you power and sharing gives you strength. We wanted families to know out there that they weren't going at this alone," Shreiber says.

If Addison is dealt the same fate, Dan hopes with their efforts, she will have better options for battling a disease that has devastated their family.

The website offers resources like information about the disease, support for families and also raises money for better treatment and research to find a cure.

The Website is

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