Colorectal Cancer Stories from Patients and Survivors

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Colorectal Cancer Stories
Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Colorectal cancer can start either in the colon or the rectum. It makes up about 8% of all cancer cases in the U.S. Finding and removing polyps can prevent colorectal cancer. (National Cancer Institute) It’s also on the rise for men and women under 50 years old.

Below explore our colorectal cancer stories from our community members who share everything from how they knew something was wrong, including genetic mutations, to navigating life with colorectal cancer and treatment.

Colorectal Cancer Stories

Additional Resources

Colon Cancer

Colorectal Cancer: Colon Cancer, Stage 1 | Shannon’s Story

Shannon Mercurio, Colon Cancer, Stage 1




Cancer Details:
Found the cancer as a result of her Lynch Syndrome
1st Symptoms: Routine colonoscopy found polyp
Treatment: Partial colectomy
Colorectal Cancer: Colon Cancer, Stage 1 | Hugo’s Story

Hugo Toovey, Colon Cancer, Stage 1



Cancer Details: Diagnosed 2 weeks after 5 years remission from testicular cancer
1st Symptoms: Inflamed bowel
Treatment: Subtotal colectomy, immunotherapy
Colorectal Cancer: Sigmoid Colon Cancer, Stage 1 | Rachel’s Story

Rachel Braga, Sigmoid Colon Cancer, Stage 1



Cancer Details: The sigmoid colon (or pelvic colon) is the part of the large intestine that is closest to the rectum
1st Symptoms: Stomach discomfort, nausea, bloating, blood in stool
Treatment: Colectomy
Colon Cancer: Stage 2, Lynch Syndrome | Chris’ Story

Chris Tarver, Colon Cancer, Stage 2



Cancer Details: Discovered Lynch Syndrome after genetic testing
1st Symptoms: Found the cancer as a result of family history, early colonoscopy
Treatment: Partial colectomy
Colorectal Cancer: Colon Cance, Stage 2, Lynch Syndrome | Shannon’s Story

Shannon Costello, Colon Cancer, Stage 2A



Cancer Details: Diagnosed at 29, tested positive for Lynch Syndrome
1st Symptoms: Severe pains after eating
Treatment: Partial colectomy
Colon Cancer, Stage 3 | Barbara Majeski

Barbara Majeski, Colon Cancer, Stage 3



Cancer Details: Family history wasn’t flagged, should have had colonoscopy earlier
1st Symptoms: Stomach discomfort, difficult to process food
Treatment: Colectomy
Colorectal Cancer Stories: Colon Cancer, Metastatic, Stage 4 | Lindsay Danneker

Lindsay Danneker, Colon Cancer, Stage 4



Cancer Details: Diagnosed at 32, cancer spread to ovary and lung
1st Symptoms: Lump in pelvic area, funny-smelling food, weight loss
Treatment: Chemotherapy, colectomy (surgery)

Rectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer Stories: Rectal Cancer, Stage 3 | Joanna’s Story

Joanna Haydon, Rectal Cancer, Stage 3



Cancer Details: Rectal adenocarcinoma



1st symptoms: Rectal bleeding, bloating, stomach aches



Treatment: FOLFOX chemo, radiation
Colorectal Cancer: Rectal Adenocarcinoma, Stage 3 | Catherine’s Story

Catherine Perka, Rectal Cancer, Stage 3



Cancer Details: Rectal adenocarcinoma; 98% of rectal and colon cancers are adenocarcinomas
1st Symptoms: Rectal bleeding, constipation, bloating
Treatment: Fertility treatments, chemo, radiation, tumor resection surgery
Colorectal Cancer: Rectal Cancer Stories, Stage 3A | Jelena’s Story

Jelena Tompkins, Rectal Cancer, Stage 3A



Cancer Details: 7cm mass found
1st Symptoms: Gas changes, rectal bleeding
Treatment: Chemo, radiation, surgery for tumor removal, ileostomy reversal
Colorectal Cancer: Rectal Adenocarcinoma, Stage 3B, Jackie’s Story | Lynch Syndrome

Jackie Spano, Rectal Adenocarcinoma, Stage 3B, Lynch Syndrome



Cancer Details: Rectal adenocarcinoma; 98% of rectal and colon cancers are adenocarcinomas
1st Symptoms: Blood in stool, constipation
Treatment: Chemo, radiation, surgery, immunotherapy
Colorectal Cancer: Rectal Adenocarcinoma, Stage 3C | Maria’s Story

Maria Asuncion, Rectal Cancer, Stage 3C



Cancer Details: 7cm mass found
1st Symptoms: Fatigue, weight loss, fast heart rate, bladder infection
Treatment: Chemo, radiation, surgery for tumor removal

Colorectal Cancer

Cancer in both the colon and rectum

Colorectal Cancer: Stage 2C | Allison’s Story

Allison Rosen, Colorectal Cancer, Stage 2C



Age at Diagnosis: 32
1st Symptoms: Extreme fatigue, unexplained weight loss, blood in stool, "blockage" feeling after eating
Treatment: Concurrent adjuvant (oral) chemotherapy + radiation, colectomy, oral chemotherapy