GAE UniServ Director Rachel Blankenship Shares Her Story About Colon Cancer

February 22.2017 will be a year since my life was turned upside down.

I just had my first colonoscopy and when I woke up from the procedure I saw my husband’s face and I knew something was wrong. All I remember is “they say you have colon cancer and they told me I could tell you or they could” the rest was just a blur. In fact the next 2 weeks felt like I was living someone else’s life.

I was 43 years old with early onset colorectal cancer.  I am the first in my family according to the genetic testing that was done by the Mayo Clinic.

After my surgery it was determined that I was Stage 2a with no lymph node spread but I will not be considered cancer free until I am 5 years with no detection. The scary part is the only symptom I had was anemia. The signs are so subtle and most don’t know they have it until it’s too late. I requested the colonoscopy myself and thank goodness my primary physician was supportive. 20% of the world is early onset and the age for the first colonoscopy is 50 unless you have symptoms or a family history.

If you have a family history of colon cancer you have to have your first colonoscopy 10 years prior to the age your family member was diagnosed. So I was diagnosed at 43 so my siblings and their children must have their first by the age of 33. Be an advocate for your health. Be informed. Don’t get caught off guard like I did. Had I known about colon cancer before maybe I could have caught it when it was just a polyp. Colon Cancer is the easiest to treat if caught in time. | |