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The Boston Globe

Lifestyle

G Cover

Family removes stomachs to cut cancer risk

When testing finds lethal gene mutations, surgery may be an early option. For the Walshes, it has meant losing their stomachs.

Steve Walsh died of stomach cancer at 46 on Nov. 21, 2006. Four years later to the day, his mother died of colon cancer. Both carried a rare gene mutation that can cause an aggressive form of cancer, and Walsh’s four surviving siblings had little choice but to find out if they carried it, too.

When three of them tested positive, they took a radical step and had their stomachs surgically removed. After watching their brother die a painful premature death, leaving a wife and three children, they didn’t have second thoughts about the surgery.

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