Patient Comments: Colon Cancer - Diagnosis

How was the diagnosis of your colon cancer established?

Comment from: Beechwood boy, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 20

I felt cold. I went to my doctor and he did a CBC (complete blood count). I was anemic. He sent me for a colonoscopy where they discovered my tumor. I was at stage 3B colon cancer. I had surgery and FOLFOX4 chemotherapy. I've been cancer free for almost 8 years.

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Comment from: Donna, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 22

Shortness of breath and strange sensations in my lower legs sent me to my internist. He ordered cardiac ultrasound and blood work. Ultrasound was normal. Blood showed very low iron level. Having a family history of colon cancer, I went to my gastroenterologist, who gave me two iron infusions, and a fecal occult test; test was negative. He ordered another one, and again negative. Although one year early, I had colonoscopy/endoscopy. Colonoscopy revealed cancer of my ileocecal valve (lower right, near appendix). I had 12 inches of my ascending colon remover laparoscopically. I had gene testing for Lynch syndrome, lymph node removal, PET scan, and all normal or negative. No treatment whatsoever. I am having a six month follow up colonoscopy in two weeks, and of course, worried sick! If I had not found out my iron level was low, I'd have a very different story!

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Comment from: KK, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, which had spread to the lymph nodes, in 2005. After extensive surgery and one year of chemotherapy using leucovorin, 5 FU, oxaliplatin, Avastin, and irinotecan, I was in complete remission! I continue to remain in remission and have scans every four months. Even at diagnosis, my CEA levels were very normal. It is a miracle, and I am very grateful!

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Published: June 30

I was 33 years old when I began noticing blood in my stool. I went to my family doctor and he had ordered an X-ray and CT scan of my abdomen. I was then sent on a 'wild goose chase' of suspicious “masses” that were “found” in my CT scan. Finally after finding out that the 5 cm mass found in my uterus was completely normal (it was just a bag of blood) my OB/GYN asked, why did you have a CT scan in the first place? I told him about my symptoms and he suggested that I get a colonoscopy ASAP. I went back to my family doctor that day and told the receptionist that I wanted a colonoscopy. . .I was told that the person who schedules these tests was on vacation for two weeks and that I'd have to wait. I told her that I'd be looking up “gastroenterologist” in the yellow pages and getting my own appointment. I did just that! I found a wonderful doctor (whose last name begins with A). He gave me an appointment within the week and I had my colonoscopy within two weeks of my initial phone call. I had my colonoscopy completed and saw the tumor with my own eyes, and observed the biopsy (it looked like a little “Pac-Man”). My biopsy did show malignancy, and I was immediately scheduled for my colon resection. After surgery, they found that my lymph nodes were positive for cancer cells, so I had stage III colorectal cancer. I met a wonderful oncologist who explained the six months of chemo and six weeks of radiation that would be necessary for me to undergo in the coming weeks. I opted to have my ovaries moved high within my body so that they wouldn't be “fried” during radiation. So after my second abdominal surgery in two months, I began chemo treatments with oxaliplatin. It was very exhausting, and I slept the weeks I had the treatment. Thankfully, it was given every other week, so I had some “awake” time to spend with my little 4 year old.

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Comment from: Cancerous Carol, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 18

I had a barium enema and the rectal cancer ws not detected because the excess barium was sitting in that spot. However, my colonoscopy was put on hold because they couldn't find anything in the barium enema. Right from the start I had ribbons of blood in my stool and after the barium enema, I continued having this blood. My husband called our MLA who gave us a phone number to call. The doctor called this number and I finally got in for a colonoscopy - rectal cancer was detected immediately. Be an advocate for your own health. If I had had the colonoscopy earlier I may have only been stage 1 or 2 - unfortunately I am stage 3.

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