Colorectal cancer survivor, screened with Cologuard®
“When you first hear the words ‘You have cancer,’ you get a picture in your mind of what your life is going to be like going forward.”
Fast forward five years and things are so much clearer, so much brighter than what Dorothy pictured after hearing those words. And the way she sees it, it took only one person’s story to make a big difference for her.
The same year Dorothy was eligible to screen for colon cancer, her friend was diagnosed with it – pushing those in his circle, including Dorothy, to get screened as soon as they were able. Wanting to honor him, Dorothy obliged.
“I saw myself as a very fit, very healthy person,” she said. “I wanted to do this for my friend.”
Dorothy wasted no time researching her options and meeting with her healthcare provider to discuss them. Having heard about noninvasive Cologuard®, she was eager to see if it would be a good fit for her.
“I think my doctor sensed my hesitancy about an invasive option,” she admitted.
“He knew that the best screening for a patient is the screening that they will do. When we discussed Cologuard since I was at average risk, I said ‘Yes, I can do that.’”
She was proud when she dropped her completed kit off with UPS® – all before heading in to work for the day – and knew her friend would be relieved she got it done. But a phone call from her healthcare provider two weeks later set in motion a whole new journey. Her Cologuard result was positive, and she needed to follow up with a colonoscopy.
“Imagine my surprise when the colonoscopy revealed a tumor and I was diagnosed with stage I colon cancer.”
Following the surprise was relief for having screened and relief that it was caught at an earlier stage, when it is more treatable.1* For Dorothy, that meant surgery to remove her sigmoid colon – no chemotherapy and no radiation. Five years later, all of her follow-up appointments showed no signs of cancer. All because she was compelled by a friend’s powerful story and followed recommendations for getting screened.
“When I first heard I had cancer, I was like ‘How did this happen? What did I do wrong?’”
Nothing. She did nothing wrong.
Because it’s important to be proactive when it comes to following screening recommendations – which means starting regular colon cancer screening at age 45 for people at average risk.2 Knowing the influence her friend had on her own screening journey, Dorothy wanted to pass that influence on.
That’s why Dorothy goes to the awareness events, runs races as a survivor, and shares with enthusiasim on social media things like go get screened and you have options. Her friend’s plea has become her own, and it’s a mission she’s so proud to join him on.
“I went and got screened, and thank goodness I did. Here I am five years later.”
*Based on 5-year survivalThis story reflects one individual’s experience. Not every person will have the same treatment, experience, outcome, or result. Cologuard is prescribed by your health care provider. Talk to your health care provider about available screening options and whether Cologuard may be right for you. There are potential risks associated with the Cologuard test and it may not be appropriate for all patients. For more information about the risks, talk to your health care provider or visit Cologuard.com/risk-information for more information.
1. National Cancer Institute. Cancer stat facts: colorectal cancer. Accessed September 18, 2023.
2. Wolf AMD, Fontham ETH, Church TR, et al. Colorectal cancer screening for average‐risk adults: 2018 guidelines update from the American Cancer Society. CA Cancer J Clin. 2018;68(4):250‐281. doi:10.3322/caac.21457
Cologuard is intended to screen adults 45 years of age and older who are at average risk for colorectal cancer by detecting certain DNA markers and blood in the stool. Do not use if you have had adenomas, have inflammatory bowel disease and certain hereditary syndromes, or a personal or family history of colorectal cancer. Cologuard is not a replacement for colonoscopy in high risk patients. Cologuard performance in adults ages 45-49 is estimated based on a large clinical study of patients 50 and older. Cologuard performance in repeat testing has not been evaluated.
The Cologuard test result should be interpreted with caution. A positive test result does not confirm the presence of cancer. Patients with a positive test result should be referred for colonoscopy. A negative test result does not confirm the absence of cancer. Patients with a negative test result should discuss with their doctor when they need to be tested again. False positives and false negative results can occur. In a clinical study, 13% of people without cancer received a positive result (false positive) and 8% of people with cancer received a negative result (false negative). Rx only.