• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: New career path after beating colon cancer

March 31, 2019

Sharing Mayo Clinic patient Evan Beard outside with his wife and children laughing and smiling

In March 2018, 23-year-old Evan Beard had just celebrated his oldest son Benjamin's second birthday, and his son Noah was about to turn 4 months old. Evan was enjoying managing the operations of a Brunswick, Georgia, coffee company, and life with his wife, Megan, who he'd married three years earlier.

But amid all the positive aspects of his life, there was a persistent problem. For a year, Evan had been noticing changes in his bowel habits, including long periods of constipation. And those changes were getting worse — finally warranting a visit to his primary care doctor and a gastroenterologist.

"I thought I might have IBS or ulcerative colitis," Evan recalls.

Receiving devastating news

To investigate what might be going on, Evan had a colonoscopy at a local health care facility. Afterward, the results of the test shocked him. He had a tumor in his colon.

Although the diagnosis was almost unimaginable to Evan, his isn't an isolated case. Among adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s, colorectal cancer is on the rise. And because screening is not routinely recommended for people in those age groups, when they develop the disease, it often goes undetected until it has spread to other areas of the body.

That was the second part of the bad news for Evan and his family. His local doctors advised him to have a CT scan of his chest and abdomen to check for other tumors. The scan revealed Evan also had four spots on his liver that appeared to be cancer.

"That's when the bottom really fell out for us," Evan says. "That's when our lives fell apart."
Read the rest of Evan's story.
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.