Cherlyn Gatto's Story

In 2008, Cherlyn Gatto was a healthy 42-year-old wife and mother of five doing missionary work in Mexico when she began feeling dizzy, weak and out of breath. She flew back home to Rochester and was hospitalized due to severe anemia and had a colonoscopy with Dr Vivek Kaul, which found a very large tumor that required surgery.

Given the finding of colon cancer in Cherlyn, her immediate relatives were deemed at higher risk for polyps and cancer, and they underwent colonoscopies as well, which resulted in the discovery of “adenomas” (precancerous polyps) in her 65-year-old mother, June Perry, of Walworth.

“It turned out that my mom had a precancerous polyp in the exact same place as mine that would likely have turned into a cancerous tumor over time,” said Gatto. “She had had a clear colonoscopy just five years before and the doctors had told her to come back in 10 years. That would have been too late.”

“This story had a really good ending for mother and daughter,” said Dr. Vivek Kaul, Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Strong Memorial Hospital, who performed her family members’ colonoscopies.

“The amazing thing was that Cherlyn’s cancer was completely contained. The tumor was sizeable and it was very possible, based on our experience and statistics, that there might be at least some spreading. I told her it could be more complex and surgery alone might not be enough. But she had no spreading, absolutely no evidence of even micrometastases and surgery was curative.”

Gatto said, “We thank God every day for giving me another opportunity to be here; to be with my husband and five beautiful children; to be alive and well.” She continues with follow-up colonoscopies, as directed by Dr. Kaul, to make sure any future polyps will not grow into tumors.

Source: Messenger Post Media