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More than a decade after his playing days as an offensive lineman at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts, Jim Foltz was still a big guy at 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds. He easily could polish off a double cheeseburger and fries during his breaks at work as an anesthesia technician at MU Health Care.
But in the summer of 2019, Foltz started losing his appetite. The smallest portions of food left him uncomfortably full.
Unusual feelings of fullness and unexplained weight loss are warning signs of esophageal or stomach cancer. In Foltz’s case, a tumor that began at the junction of the esophagus and stomach had spread up through the esophagus and down through the stomach, into his pancreas and even into the celiac artery that feeds the organs of the upper abdomen.
Fortunately for Foltz, some of the surgeons he regularly worked alongside were pioneers of a procedure in which the esophagus and stomach are removed and replaced with sections of the colon and small intestine, respectively.
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