Hockey Player Discusses Life, Recovery with FAP


When Sam Anderson was thirteen years old, he was diagnosed with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a rare inherited disorder. As he grappled with his diagnosis and symptoms, Sam also found comfort in hockey, an interest he shares and was cultivated with his father. 

According to WDIO, Sam underwent surgery in 2017, just five years ago, because of the large number of polyps on his colon. During the surgery, doctors removed Sam’s colon and rectum. 

Although the recovery process was not entirely easy, Sam is grateful for where his life is now. On a regular basis, he visits the Mayo Clinic to ensure that his health is where it should be. He states that dealing with his condition at his age taught him maturity and how to handle stressful situations. More so, he is able to keep calm under pressure – a skill that no doubt benefits him as goalie for the Marshall High School Hilltoppers. 

Now, Sam loves to spend Friday and Saturday night watching hockey, and then playing during the weekdays. Outside of his school team, he also plays with the Minnesota Wilderness 18U AAA team. 

His secret to success now? Peanut butter cups before every game. 

Now that’s something we can get behind! 

Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)

APC gene mutations cause familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a rare genetic condition in which polyps (extra tissue) form in the rectum, large intestine, or upper gastrointestinal tract. In about 75% of cases, these mutations are inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion, meaning affected individuals must inherit only one defective gene. However, in the remaining 25% of diagnoses, the gene mutation occurs spontaneously. Hundreds or thousands of polyps usually begin forming by the time someone is in their teens. Without treatment, these polyps become cancerous, causing colorectal cancer at the average age of 39. Symptoms and other characteristics of FAP include: 

  • Polyps in the stomach, duodenum, or bowel
  • Bloody stool
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Extra, missing, or unerupted teeth
  • Bloating or a feeling of fullness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Congenital hypertrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium
  • Soft tissue tumors
  • Osteomas (bony growths) 
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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