Colorectal Cancer Screening Stories
“There is no better time than now to talk to your doctor and get screened.”
Joy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I lost my mom to colorectal cancer, which may have been prevented if my mom had gotten her routine colorectal cancer screenings. My mom never got a colonoscopy done until it was too late. I will not let that same fate happen to my kids and loved ones.
In honor of my mom, I am meeting with a gastroenterologist to talk about when I should start screening based on my age and family history of colorectal cancer. The recommended age for most people to begin screening, male or female, is now 45. Some people may need to be tested earlier than 45 if they have a family history, inflammatory bowel disease, or a genetic syndrome like Lynch syndrome. These screenings can help find precancerous polyps before they become cancerous. It makes me sad to know that I could have had more time with my mom had she taken these measures. But with this knowledge, I’m going to do everything I can to prevent colorectal cancer.
There is no better time than now to talk to your doctor and get screened. Believe me when I say that your loved ones will appreciate it if you do. I know I would have.
“Did you know there is often no warning sign that you have colorectal cancer?”
Adrian, Edenton, North Carolina
I made an appointment to get my first colonoscopy at 47. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and delaying regular appointments and screenings, I missed the memo that the screening age for colorectal cancer now begins at 45 for both men and women. Colorectal cancer often comes with no symptoms, and it’s very preventable.
If doctors find a precancerous polyp, they can get rid of it and, in many cases, prevent cancer from ever developing. And if they do find cancer, treatment works best when it’s detected early. Don’t delay your screening.
“Many of my patients are fearful about getting screened for colorectal cancer.”
Dr. Jen Caudle, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but many of my patients are fearful about getting screened for colorectal cancer, so they put it off. If it’s helpful, I let my patients know that there are different screening options available, even some that can be done at home.
I’ll be going for my colorectal cancer screening soon, so I tell my patients that we are in this together. Screening is important because it helps find precancerous polyps before they turn into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best!
I’ll be right there with you, and I’ll be talking to my doctor about my screening options.
“Screening prevented me from developing colorectal cancer.”
Lorraine, Sarasota, Florida
I got screened for colorectal cancer, and they found precancerous polyps, preventing me from developing colorectal cancer. By the age of 59, I had completed several screenings. I am slated for another screening next year because of my high risk and family history.
My father was diagnosed with colorectal cancer at 82. He had never had a screening, so I didn’t know I had a family history of colorectal cancer until he was diagnosed.
At first, he had no symptoms, and that’s why screenings are so important. Colorectal cancer doesn’t always have symptoms, especially in the early stages.
“If I hadn’t been screened I wouldn’t have been able to see my son go off to college.”
I’m a father of two, husband, and salesman who travels around the country for work. I’ve had a full life. I watched my daughter graduate from college and graduate school, and my son graduate from high school. Now that both of our kids have left the house, my wife and I are beginning the next chapter of our life together.
In 2016, I noticed I seemed to be getting more tired, from traveling I thought. I decided to see my doctor for a checkup. I spoke with him about having a colonoscopy, even though I didn’t have any symptoms, aside from feeling tired. I wanted to get screened because it had been 7 years since my last colonoscopy. Also, my father had colon cancer when he was only 45 years old that he survived. Today, my father is 75 years old and in relatively good health.
I went in for my colonoscopy on January 10, 2017. Although no polyps were present during this screening (or during any screening I had prior), the doctor took tissue samples for a biopsy. A week later, the results came back and showed that I did in fact have colon cancer. On February 2, 2017, I underwent surgery to get rid of the cancer.
Fortunately, because the cancer was found early enough, the surgery was successful. But I never would have found it early if I hadn’t been screened.
Now, I’m encouraging my wife to get a colonoscopy. People tell me that they are scared to get screened and scared to see what the screening might reveal. But I think it’s scarier if you have a tumor that the doctor can’t remove. I have a few brothers, and all of them have been screened. One of my brothers routinely has polyps that are removed.
If I hadn’t been screened I wouldn’t have been able to see my son go off to college, or enjoy this next chapter of my life with my wife and family. Today, I have a positive outlook on the life ahead of me. I also started exercising again and changing my diet. I’ve been getting back to the old me. Getting screened made me want to go enjoy every day.