Joy After Cancer
- “Happy Days” star Anson Williams, 73, ties the knot in a beautiful outdoor wedding six years after beating colon cancer.
- Williams was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer in 2016. He underwent two surgeries but has said he is now cancer-free.
- Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that affects your large intestine (colon) or the end of your intestine (rectum).
- An estimated 106,970 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed this year according to the American Cancer Society.
- Most colon cancers can be prevented if people are regularly screened beginning at age 45. The screening usually involves a colonoscopy.
Life after beating colon cancer seems to be quite blissful for “Happy Days” star Anson Williams, 73. He just married his sweetheart in a beautiful outdoor wedding surrounded by loved ones.
The longtime actor, dressed in a dark-colored suit, married Sharon McHarry. She wore a lavishly laced white dress for the ceremony. She’s made her career as a real estate agent in Ojai, California according to U.K.-based news outlet, The Daily Mail. The ceremony took place near Los Angeles, California with guests that included family and friends.
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Williams’ acting career began in the early 1970s. He is best known for portraying Potsie Weber in the popular television sitcom “Happy Days.” He also starred in “Baywatch” and “ABC Afterschool Specials,” according to IMDB, a movies and entertainment resource.
The father of five celebrated the joyous occasion nearly seven years after beating stage 2 colon cancer. His cancer battle gave him a renewed outlook on life, and he is continuing to live it to the fullest.
Anson Williams’ Cancer Journey
Williams was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer a week before Christmas in 2016, Fox News reported. He explained he started experiencing unusual symptoms before he was diagnosed.
“For a long time, I would do certain things and get out of breath easily. It was odd,” he said.
He went to see his doctor and tests also revealed his red blood count was low.
“They couldn’t believe I was walking. They told me I was so anemic…I was a mess! But we got it in time,” Williams explained.
He underwent two surgeries and spent three weeks in the hospital, according to Closer Weekly, an entertainment news outlet.
During his treatment, Williams’ outlook on life changed.
“I needed to reprioritize my life. It actually became beneficial for me in that I became so much stronger about what I believe in,” he said.
“I learned to have a deeper appreciation for my family,” he continued.
After his surgery, Williams said there is no evidence of the disease and told news outlets that he was “cancer-free.”
How to Know If You Have Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that affects your large intestine (colon) or the end of your intestine (rectum). An estimated 106,970 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed this year according to the American Cancer Society.
The cancer starts when abnormal lumps called polyps grow in the colon or rectum. If you don’t have these polyps removed, they can sometimes become cancerous. It takes up to 10 years for a colon polyp to become full-blown cancer, according to SurvivorNet experts.
Most colon cancers can be prevented if people are regularly screened beginning at age 45. The screening usually involves a colonoscopy, in which a long thin tube attached to a camera is used to examine the colon and rectum. If no polyps are discovered, the next screening won’t be needed for about 10 years.
“We know that colon cancers can be prevented when polyps are found early,” Dr. Heather Yeo, Colorectal Surgeon, and Surgical Oncologist
Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian told SurvivorNet.
Colon cancer staging considers the depth of the tumor in the colon, and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs, such as the liver or lungs.
- Stage 1 cancers are those in which the tumor has only penetrated the superficial layers of the colon and hasn’t gotten into the deeper layers
- Stage 2 cancers involve the deeper layers of the colon wall
- Stage 3 cancers have spread to the lymph nodes around the colon
- Stage 4 cancers have spread to other organs, such as the liver, lungs, or peritoneal cavity (the space in your abdomen that holds your intestines, stomach, and liver)
WATCH: Staging Colon Cancer,
Colon cancer symptoms and warning signs include:
- Change in bowel movement
- Bloody stool
- Diarrhea, constipation or feeling the bowel does not empty completely
- Unexplained weight loss
- Constant abdominal pain or cramps
Positivity After Beating Cancer
“A positive attitude is really important,” says Dr. Zuri Murrell, a colorectal surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Dr. Dana Chase, gynecologic oncologist at UCLA Health, says that emotional health and good quality of life are associated with better survival and better outcomes.
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“So definitely working on your emotional health, your physical well-being, your social environment, your emotional well-being, definitely working on those things and making them better are important and can impact your survival,” Dr. Chase told SurvivorNet.
SurvivorNet experts also recommend cancer survivors maintain their support system. The core group of loved ones who helped you through the toughest parts of your cancer journey is also needed after you’ve beat it. They can help you maintain a positive mindset.
Learn more about SurvivorNet's rigorous medical review process.