“Early Detection Is Key”: Rudy Gallardo warns others about the dangers of colon cancer, urges testing

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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Rudy Gallardo is known for being an active husband, father and grandfather along with being a great outdoorsman and traveler.

“I kayak. I fish. I hike. I camp,” Gallardo said. “So anything involving being outside and the outdoors is for me.”

Gallardo is part of the production team at ABC13. He’s a floor director who guides anchors and reporters in the studio during newscasts. He’s also a survivor.

In 2019, Gallardo said he began noticing symptoms. He ignored them for three months before going to the doctor who diagnosed colorectal cancer between stages two and three.

SEE ALSO: Health panel proposes colon cancer tests start at 45, not 50

“It was like the floor falling from under me, really,” Gallardo said. “Because when you’re being told that you have a tumor inside you, it’s very unnerving. I was in a daze.”

His doctor Ted Voloyiannis at HCA-Clear Lake immediately put Gallardo into a nationally recognized protocol, and with a team approach they quickly started treatment. Gallardo fought through a series of chemotherapy, radiation treatments and surgery.

With his faith, family, friends, doctors and nurses, he made it through. Had he waited longer to get checked out, doctors said he might not have had the chance to fight.

“Colon and rectal cancer usually doesn’t leave symptoms at the early phases,” said Dr. Voloyiannis.

Now, health care officials recommend people get checked earlier than previous guidance suggested and start scheduling regular colonoscopies.

“The American Cancer Society has recently changed their recommendations to the age of 45,” Dr. Voloyiannis said. “And that is because we see more and more patients at a younger age developing colon and rectal cancer. “

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Gallardo had no family history of the illness and had no idea that he should have gone years earlier for a checkup.

“Early detection is key,” Gallardo said. “It’s vitally important. Early detection makes all the difference in the world as to whether or not you’re going to have a successful outcome.”

Gallardo has been in remission now for more than a year and said he’s ready for whatever comes his way. His mission now is to urge others to be proactive and get checked.

“Just get it done and put it behind you,” Gallardo said, smiling. “No pun intended.”

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