Screened with Cologuard: Colorectal Cancer Survivor
“I can give back with so much reward. I’m proud of my journey…because I’m a colon cancer survivor.”
For Lynn, that reward isn’t just about sharing her story with the many people she meets as a small business owner. And it’s not just about dropping meals off to people going through chemotherapy. The real satisfaction? Knowing her story has the power to help someone who might need to hear it and knowing she can support others – because she has been there.
The way Lynn sees it, her journey began in her late 50s when she left the big city and a career in fashion behind to open her own store. It was a lifelong dream for Lynn, who was happy to trade in life in a bustling city for a smaller town closer to family.
There was, however, one person she missed seeing regularly in the city – and that was her trusted healthcare provider of more than 20 years. Even during her years of busy work travel, the two built a strong relationship. So strong that Lynn was willing to drive hours to see her when she realized six years had quickly passed since her last visit.
“During my check-up, she asked if I ever got screened for colon cancer,” Lynn said.
“I was 60 at this point. And when I was flying all over the place for work just a few years before, screening for colon cancer wasn’t on my mind.”
Knowing Lynn was at average risk and interested in a noninvasive option, her provider told her about Cologuard – to which Lynn quickly replied “That’s a plan.” Having heard about Cologuard before, she agreed it was a test she would complete.
“It’s in the privacy of my own home and I have control of it,” she said.
She didn’t let busy days leading up to the holidays and running her store stop her from collecting her sample and returning the kit the same day she received it.
“I only live a few blocks away from my store,” she said. “I ran home, collected my sample, and dropped it off for UPS® that afternoon.”
It was only 10 days later she received the call from her provider from out of state – the Cologuard result was positive, and Lynn quickly scheduled a colonoscopy closer to home. When the colonoscopy revealed a tumor that would require surgery and a colon resection, Lynn was shocked.
“As my husband and I left, we said to each other, ‘We just entered a whole new chapter.’”
Lynn wasn’t willing to put what she loved on hold while she waited to learn about her next steps. Right after meeting with her surgeon, she hopped in the car with her husband to enjoy the holidays away with family before kicking off the new year in Spain with friends.
“This was my journey, and I was going to own it,” she said.
She kept that attitude every step of the way – when she had surgery to remove 14 inches of her colon, when she was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer, and when she sat in the infusion room alone at the start of a global pandemic to receive her first of 12 chemotherapy treatments.
Rather than worrying about juggling her small business, treatment and navigating COVID-19, Lynn threw her energy into treatment. And her community rallied around her from a safe distance – delivering fresh flowers and meals right to her doorstep after every treatment. That support from others pushed her forward on the tough days and she was thrilled to pay that kindness forward when she completed her final round of chemotherapy.
Grateful to have had support during treatment. Grateful to have had screening options. And grateful for opportunities to help people just like her – because nobody should have to go it alone.
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.