Colorectal Cancer Stories from Patients and Survivors | The Patient Story

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.

Read in-depth colon and rectal 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

Colon Cancer Stories: Shannon’s Stage 1 Diagnosis, Lynch Syndrome | The Patient 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
Hugo’s Colon Cancer Story, Stage 1 | The Patient 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
Rachel’s Colon Cancer Story, Sigmoid, Stage 1 | The Patient 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
Chris’ Colon Cancer Story, Stage 2, Lynch Syndrome | The Patient 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
Shannon’s Colon Cancer Story, Stage 2, Lynch Syndrome | The Patient 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
Barbara’s Colon Cancer Story: Stage 3 | The Patient Story

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
Shelley’s Colon Cancer Story: Stage 3B | The Patient Story

Shelley Brown, Colon Cancer, Stage 3B



Cancer Details: Had no usual first symptoms, found as a result of routine colonoscopy and endoscopy
1st Symptoms: None
Treatment:Partial colectomy, chemotherapy (FOLFOX)
Lindsay’s Metastatic Colon Cancer Story: Stage 4 | The Patient Story

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)
Lee’s Metastatic Colon Cancer Story: Stage 4, Recurrence | The Patient Story

Lee Jones, Colon Cancer, Stage 4, Recurrence



Cancer Details: Recurrence then remission
1st Symptoms: Discovered stage 4 cancer from unrelated CT scan
Treatment: Neoadjuvant chemo (FOLFOX), hemicolectomy (partial colon surgery), adjuvant chemo (FOLFOX), chemo post-recurrence (FOLFIRI), liver surgery

Rectal Cancer

Joanna’s Rectal Cancer Story, Stage 3 | The Patient Story

Joanna Haydon, Rectal Cancer, Stage 3



Cancer Details: Rectal adenocarcinoma



1st symptoms: Rectal bleeding, bloating, stomach aches



Treatment: FOLFOX chemo, radiation
Catherine’s Rectal Cancer Story: Adenocarcinoma, Stage 3 | The Patient 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
Jelena’s Rectal Cancer Story: Stage 3A | The Patient 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
Jackie’s Rectal Cancer story: Adenocarcinoma, Stage 3B to Stage 4, Lynch Syndrome | The Patient Story

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
Maria’s Rectal Cancer Story: Adenocarcinoma, Stage 3C | The Patient 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

Allison’s Colorectal Cancer Story: Stage 2C | The Patient 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