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Man fights colorectal cancer for himself, others

Omahan Paul Shadle is in national campaign
Posted at 6:19 AM, Mar 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-01 08:23:09-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Paul Shadle's face isn't one of a colorectal cancer patient.

It's the face of a fighter who often thinks about dates, numbers and statistics.

July 2016 is when doctors diagnosed the then 45-year-old with stage four cancer and revealed the disease spread to his liver and lungs. Prior to the visit, he said he experienced abdominal pain, bloating and blood in his stool.

The diagnosis hit him. Hard.

"You don't expect to be diagnosed with cancer," he said. " You're thinking [the doctor] says he needs to talk to you - it's just going to be something you're going to get a prescription for." 

Every two weeks, for three to five hours, he receives chemotherapy treatments at Nebraska Medicine. In between those visits, he defied his doctor's orders.

"I did exactly what the doctors told you not to do and that's to go out on the web and start researching," he said. 

He discovered the advocacy and research group Fight Colorectal Cancer, or Fight CRC

Online and in real-life, he found a support system and armed himself with knowledge to understand the disease's impact.

"It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the U.S.," Shadle said.

Another big number for him, he says 50,000 people are expected to die from this form of cancer.

Oncologist and experts are alarmed at the staggering data when it comes to screenings.

"There's a lot of apprehension," said Dr. Jean Grem with Nebraska Medicine. "Right now, only about two-thirds of patients who are eligible for a colon colorectal screening are actually getting screening."

60 percent of the predicted deaths are preventable through regular screenings, according to Fight CRC.

As Shadle became immersed in his treatments and connection with the group, he applied for the chance to become an ambassador. When Fight CRC tapped him for a national awareness campaign set to debut during the NASDAQ opening bell ceremony Tuesday, he jumped at the opportunity. The recent launched coincided with the start of March being the awareness month for the disease.

For the husband and father, he knows he's fighting with and for others.

Three is another important figure for him.

"The main reason I fight is for my three children," he said while overlooking their portraits hung on the wall.

In his fight, he does so with courage.