ABC13 staffer in remission urges others to get screened for cancer

New guidance from officials encourages those in their late 40s to schedule regular colonoscopies and watch for symptoms.

Video Transcript

RUDY GALLARDO: I kayak, I fish, I like to hike, I camp. So anything involving being outside in the outdoors is for me.

- Rudy Gallardo is an active husband, father, and grandfather. He's an outdoorsman and traveler. He's part of the production team here at ABC 13, too. And he is also a survivor.

RUDY GALLARDO: It was just like the floor falling from under me, really. Because when you're being told that you have a tumor inside you, it's very unnerving. And I was in a daze.

- In 2019, Rudy had noticed symptoms he ignored for three months. Then, he went to the doctor.

RUDY GALLARDO: The early detection is key.

TED VOLOYIANNIS: Colorectal cancer, between stages II and III for Rudy. His doctor is Ted Voloyiannis at HCA Clear Lake.

RUDY GALLARDO: Colon and rectal cancer usually doesn't give symptoms at the early phases.

- Voloyiannis immediately put Rudy into a nationally recognized protocol at HCA Clear Lake, and, with a team approach, started treatment-- fast, both chemotherapy and radiation, and then surgery. Rudy fought hard, and threw his faith, family, friends, and doctors, along with nurses, he made it through. Had he waited longer to get checked, he might not have had the chance to fight.

RUDY GALLARDO: It's vitally important. I mean, early detection is-- makes all the difference in the world of whether or not you're going to have a successful outcome.

- And now, you should go earlier than previously thought to get checked and begin regular colonoscopies.

TED VOLOYIANNIS: The American Cancer Society has recently changed their recommendations to the age of 45, and that is because we see more and more patients at a younger age developing colon and rectal cancer.

- Rudy had no family history. He had no idea he should have gone years earlier for a checkup. He's fortunate. In remission now for more than a year, he is ready for whatever comes his way and urges others to be proactive and get checked.

RUDY GALLARDO: Just get it done and put it behind you-- no pun intended.