NEW LEXINGTON — Last December, Clark Hurst was devastated when he found out he had cancer, but now a year later, his best friend is hosting a benefit in his honor on Nov. 10 to raise funds for Hurst and his wife.

When Hurst fell ill with a stomachache, the doctors decided to do a CAT scan and that’s when they found the stage 3 colon cancer. The benefit will help pay for Hurst’s medical bills and will be hosted at the Crooksville VFW.

Hurst has been friends with Randy Sidwell since they were little kids growing up in Perry County. They later formed a band together that’s lasted 17 years and they each play the fiddle and guitar.

Preforming at benefits became a pretty normal thing for them as a band but never did Hurst think the band of five would be preforming at his own benefit at 72 years old.

“We’ve done hundreds of benefits for people over those years and I told my wife that it was time for him to have one,” expressed Sidwell.

Known as colon or rectal cancer, colorectal cancer begins as a growth, called polyps, on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. The innermost layer of the colon or rectum is where these growths begin and when cancer cells are in the wall, they have the potential to grow into blood vessels or nearby lymph vessels causing the cancer to spread.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States. Men have a one in 22 chance of developing colorectal cancer and women a one in 24 chance, for a total projected number of 50,630 deaths in 2018 alone.

Risk factors you can control or change for colorectal cancer are being overweight, physical inactivity, certain types of diets, smoking and heavy alcohol use. The risk of colorectal cancer goes up as people age but even more so after the age of 50.

According to ACS, about five percent of people who develop colorectal cancer have inherited gene changes (mutations) that cause family cancer syndromes and can lead to them getting the disease.

Hurst says he’s always had a decent appetite and is now attempting to change his everyday habits to include exercise.

“I’m trying to stay upbeat about it, I try to keep a positive attitude — I get outside as much as I can and do some exercise and do stuff outside, just kind of going with the flow,” explained Hurst.

People with type two diabetes share some of the same risk factors for developing colorectal cancer. Knowing your family history such as racial and ethnic background helps as well, but Hurst had no recollection of cancer being in the family.

If you’re concerned about colorectal cancer you can have a simple blood test done such as a complete blood count, liver enzymes or tumor markers, but tumor markers may also be abnormal for reasons other than cancer too. Image testing is another way to find out the size or if the cancer has spread.

After the passing of the Affordable Care Act, private insurers and Medicare is required to offer a health plan that includes a wide range of testing options. Although, at this time insurers are not required to cover the cost of colorectal cancer screening before the age of 50 since their chances are less.

The benefit will begin at 4 p.m. on Nov. 10 and a dinner with soup beans, cornbread, beef stew and Coney dogs will be served. Sidwell’s band, Up 2 No Good, will preform from 6 to 10 p.m. with games, a 50/50 drawing, Chinese auction and gun raffle to be held.

As for Hurst, he doesn’t care about the details, he wants, “Just the enjoyment of being at the benefit and being with all my friends and the people that put it on for me — they’re great.”

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Grace Warner is a reporter with The Logan Daily News.

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