At the age of 51, my first and only colonoscopy revealed 100 polyps in my colon, rectum, and anus
even though I had no symptoms or family history. I was immediately referred to a Certified Genetic
Counselor at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawai’i. Germline DNA testing revealed I had attenuated
familial adenomatous polyposis (AFAP), due to an autosomal dominant germline mutation. After reading
about AFAP to better prepare myself and learn the facts of AFAP, I wanted to have the surgery to
remove my colon.
I embraced this diagnosis from the onset and have since joined various registries focused on inherited cancers, participated in live-case presentations, and have been selected to serve on advisory boards. Sharing my journey and being a source of inspiration is important to me. Shortly after my diagnosis, I created my mantra: Always Forge Ahead with a Purpose. This is a positive spin on a bleak diagnosis. My mindset is not to think of things I’m unable to control, such as medical conditions, but what I can control is my positive attitude. My vision is to establish national legislature jurisdiction designating the 4th week of March as Hereditary Colon Cancer Awareness Week. As of this year, Texas is the only state to designate this Awareness Week. My purpose in life now is to educate the world about AFAP and the importance of early detection in hopes of saving lives, continuing the legacy of Dr. Henry T. Lynch.
- Dan Dry Dock Shockley (pictured above on left with Dr. Lynch on right)
Retired U.S. Navy; Operation Desert Storm; Enduring & Iraqi Freedom veteran and 9-year hereditary colon cancer WARRIOR