After Karen Schreiber (pictured second from right) lost her brother and mother to stomach cancer, she discovered through research that her family shared a genetic susceptibility to Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC). Affecting fewer than 200 families worldwide at this time, the disease eludes detection in its early stage and often results in death of family members before the genetic trait is discovered. Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, and scientists are discovering new HDGC families every month. Karen took the one preventive step that she learned was available to her — stomach removal surgery.
In September 2008, Karen traveled from her home in Wisconsin to Boston for the surgery, which was performed by Sam Yoon, MD, at the Mass General Cancer Center. Since then, her brother and nephew have had the same surgery with Dr. Yoon. Karen went beyond saving her own family. She also founded No Stomach For Cancer, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to advancing stomach cancer awareness, education and research, as well as developing a support network among affected families.
“I too was the first in my family to have a total gastrectomy to prevent this disease, which has taken the lives of several family members,” writes Rosemary Evans. “No Stomach for Cancer has been an invaluable resource to my family and many others around the world.”