Unfortunately, they discovered a large tumor in the right side of his colon. The gastroenterologist (an internist who took a fellowship in the study of diseases of the esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines) sent him to a surgeon who performed an exploratory surgery and removed the right side of his colon. In the pathology specimens, the pathologist noted that the tumor had spread into several lymph nodes just outside the tissue of the bowel.
He had an uneventful recovery and wanted to return to his flying. Fortunately for him, he had heard Sackier and myself speak at AOPA Aviation Summit and joined the Pilot Protection Service's Plus program earlier that same year.
He called the Medical Certification staff at AOPA, and they told him that for his particular problem, in order to present his case to the FAA for consideration of a special issuance, he would need the following documents, evaluations, and testing:
This pilot listened to the certification people and ultimately received a third-class special issuance.
Dr. Warren Silberman is the former manager of FAA Aerospace Medical Certification and a doctor of osteopathic medicine. A pilot since 1986, he is recognized nationally as an expert in aerospace/preventive medicine, and is a regular writer for AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services.
I am sure you have all been reading the great articles by my associate and friend, Dr. Jonathan Sackier. You should then know how important it is to get regular colon cancer screenings when you reach the age of 50.
Third-class airman Bubba Joe Snuffy happened to have a family history of colon cancer in his Aunt Beatrice. He was very much into taking care of himself, since he loved flying so much and wanted to maximize his time in the cockpit. So he got regular check-ups and made sure that he obtained all the recommended preventive tests that his physicians recommended. When he turned 50, he got a colonoscopy, which is a test where a specialist inserts a flexible black tube that has a camera on the end into your rectum, usually under an intravenous anesthetic, and passes this "scope" through your entire colon to look for tumors.