Gregg Leakes, husband of real housewife of Atlanta Nene Leakes, who is in the process of treatment for colon cancer, admitted that he ignored his wife’s pleading or him to get his colon checked earlier.
“Gregg is not a walk in the park,” Nene told host Andy Cohen as a cowed Gregg sat by her side. “Not even if he didn’t have cancer, he is not a walk in the park,” NeNe said. “Our relationship is not great. It really put a strain on us.”
A frustrated Nene publicly confronted Gregg about failing to get screened for colon cancer, even though she’d urged him to get tested. In an emotional exchange, Gregg, who is believed to be about 63, admitted ignoring her pleas, and also acknowledged that he’d ignored doctors’ orders to undergo chemotherapy and instead opted for alternative, holistic treatments.
“It would be easy to make a decision about divorcing Gregg if he didn’t have cancer,” NeNe said of her real estate investor husband, implying that she would have left him by now. “I don’t want to live my life unhappy.”
Gregg, who has stage three colon cancer, is still not undergoing chemotherapy, though he’s now being checked regularly.
“Colon cancer is considered a silent and deadly killer,” says Dr. Yeo. “What happens is people often don’t know that they have colon cancer. They don’t have any symptoms. That’s why we screen for colon cancer in the United States.”
The best, most accurate form of colon cancer screening is the colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, doctors insert a tiny camera on a flexible tube into the patient’s rectum, and look for small growths, called polyps. These polyps can turn into colon cancer if left undetected and never removed. If doctors find a polyp during a colonoscopy, they remove it using something called a colonoscope.
“We basically put a wire through with a little bit of a little flange at the end and we pull the polyp out,” says Dr. Zuri Murrell, Colorectal Surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The process isn’t painful at all, because there are not pain fibers inside the colon.
Polyps are sent to a lab, and results usually come back in about ten days. “When it’s in the lab, a pathologist basically cuts up the little polyp and looks under a microscope. And underneath the microscope, they can decide whether or not it is early cancer or whether it is just a precancerous polyp. 95% of polyps are precancerous polyps,” says Dr. Murrell.
Colon Cancer Screening
Colonoscopies are still the best way to screen for colon cancer.
General guidelines for colon cancer screen recommend that adults begin getting colonoscopies at age 50. But for people with a family history of colon cancer, doctors recommend that you get tested for colon cancer ten years prior to the age that your family member was diagnosed with the disease. If your family member was diagnosed at age 53, you should start getting tested at age 43.
And if you have an immediate family member who has had a history of colon cancer, it’s important that you get check for other risk factors. The first step– talk to a genetic counselor or colorectal surgeon about your possible risk.
Leakes also said he ignored Doctor recommendations for his to receive chemotherapy treatment, opting instead for “holistic treatment.” Though some doctors advocate for integrative medicines, whereby some natural therapies can be used alongside traditional medical treatment, it is not recommended to opt out of traditional medical care, and recent studies have shown that people who opt for alternative therapies are more likely to die from cancer than those who receive traditional care.
Leakes awaits radiations therapy, and will be tested afterward to see whether his cancer has spread.