Ten years ago a North Texas mother heard the difficult news that she had stage three colon cancer. Researchers are still puzzled about why she got it so young and they are studying her DNA to see if she holds the key to a cure.
Amy Austin is not like other colon cancer patients. Most get it later in life and she was diagnosed with it when she was just 28 years old.
"I was laying in bed one night and I had this horrible pain in my abdomen and I could feel the actual tumor," she said. "I started having knock me to the floor stomach pains."
The young mother said she just assumed she was going to die, but she ended up winning the battle. And that's not all. She's still considered a medical mystery.
"We haven't been able to figure it out," said Dr. C. Richard Boland from Baylor University Medical Center.
Researchers can usually point to age or a strong genetic reason for colon cancer. Doctor's couldn't figure out what caused Austin's tumors. They have been testing her DNA for a decade to find an answer.
"It's like reading a book and she has a typo somewhere. And where that typo is is causing her to get cancer. So we're trying to figure out where's that typo," said Jennifer Rhees, the DNA lab manager.
Austin returned to Baylor Wednesday to submit more blood for testing. She welcomes the idea of doctors studying her genetic makeup as part of their research.
She said it's exciting to think she could perhaps provide the missing link to someday finding a cure for others.
"We keep hoping that we'll find one new little piece of information that might help a lot of people," Dr. Boland said.
KDFW FOX 4
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