Former NFL star Mark Gastineau shares battle with colon cancer

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Former NFL star Mark Gastineau shares battle with colon cancer
Former NFL star Mark Gastineau shares battle with colon cancer - Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5pm on March 19, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Former NFL star Mark Gastineau is sharing his personal battle with colon cancer in the hopes it will save lives.

The recommendation is to start routine screening for colon cancer at age 45, but on average one out of every three adults who should be screened are not being screened.

The former New York Jet is trying to change that to help save more lives.

He was a force on the football field. Gastineau played for the Jets for 10 seasons. At the time he retired, he had more sacks than anyone else in the NFL.

But today, he's the one taking a hit.

At 62 years old, Gastineau is battling stage 3 colon cancer. He's had surgery, is currently undergoing 8 rounds of chemotherapy and will face 6 weeks of radiation.

He admits he put off getting a colonoscopy - a screening test that could have found early signs of cancer and treated it right away. And he's sharing his personal battle in the hopes it will help someone else.

"If you dont get screened, you're never going to know and it could be too late," he said.

Gastineau is being treated at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

As for being a Jet, now living in Eagles territory...

"That's okay, it's humbling," said Mark.

And he and his wife, Jo Ann, are embracing it, joining Philadelphia's Get Your Rear in Gear events this week to help raise awareness in the community about colon cancer.

"For me, something in my heart said its a few weeks away, there's a lot to do, but its okay we need to help people and let people know about it," said Jo Ann.

"There's going to be people you might want to see more than me, especially if they're Eagles, but we want to raise awareness," said Mark.

And that's goal - to raise awareness and make sure more people are being screened for colon cancer. In many cases, the screening itself prevents cancer.

The Get Your Rear in Gear run and walk is this Sunday, March 24th at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park.

For more information and to register or donate for the event, CLICK HERE.