By: Lauren Fabrizi
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced Wednesday he has been diagnosed with colon cancer, and said he will undergo surgery Thursday.
He said the cancer was discovered during a colonoscopy in November.
"It's scary, scares the heck out of you," Bruning said. "It's kind of like being hit upside the head with a baseball bat."
Warning signs and a family history of the cancer had prompted Bruning to get tested. He'll undergo surgery Thursday.
The attorney general said doctors will remove about eight inches of his colon and surrounding lymph nodes. He said he's going into the surgery with a positive attitude.
"The prognosis is optimistic, the doctors have reason to be optimistic," Bruning said. "I do, I feel good."
Bruning won't know if the cancer has spread elsewhere until tests are done after the surgery. But he said Wednesday he still plans to run for re–election.
Doctor Kevin Yiee of St. Elizabeth's Medical Center said warning signs of colon cancer include bloody stool and abdominal pain.
He said most people start getting a colonoscopy when they turn 50. But he said some have to start earlier.
"If you had family members who have had colon cancer, if you have some genetic entities that pre–dispose them to colon cancer," Yiee said.
Yiee said if that's the case, then you should start getting tested 10 years before the age your family member had been diagnosed. Yiee also said if your colon cancer is a stage one or two, then you have a 90% chance or higher of beating it, so he wants to make sure you don't miss your screenings.
Attorney General Bruning said his cancer is a warning to others.
"I hope people go get tested," Bruning said. "I'm hopeful by hearing my story that somebody's life could be saved."
Bruning said he expects to be in the hospital for about four to seven days. The attorney general's office said they will release a statement on the status of his cancer when they learn more from doctors.