Screened with Cologuard: Colorectal cancer survivor
A proud retired teacher, Nancy’s passion for inspiring others runs deep.
After devoting years in the classroom, she was looking forward to spending time doing things she loved. And between sunny days at the beach and spending time perfecting her glasswork skills, she made sure to stay on top of her health through regular visits to her primary care provider.
One thing Nancy admitted she put off, however, was screening for colon cancer. During a routine visit, her provider persisted – reminding Nancy of the importance of screening. Nancy was 68 years old at the time – they both knew she was overdue and agreed screening shouldn’t wait.
“Eventually, our conversation came to ‘It’s past time. We need to do something,’” Nancy recalled. “I knew she was right.”
During that conversation, Nancy – who was at average risk – told her provider she would be most willing to complete a noninvasive screening test. After learning more about options that would be most appropriate, Nancy chose Cologuard and was grateful to screen from the privacy of her home.
“It was easy to use,” she said.
Nancy quickly completed the test and sent it back to the lab. A few weeks later, her provider shared the result: positive.
Nancy followed up with a colonoscopy and then surgery, which revealed stage I colon cancer. The polyp and surrounding tissue were removed during surgery.
Though her family was understandably shocked, Nancy was hopeful.
Nancy did not need any additional treatment, and she continues to check in with her healthcare provider for routine blood tests and colonoscopies with a purpose.
“I don’t want to go through another surgery. I don’t want the chance that something will spread. I can’t take chances now,” she explained.
Rather than dwelling on her experience, she has cultivated a passion for sharing the importance of screening. As a former teacher, her mission to encourage others is a deeply personal one.
“I don’t want other people to have to go through what I did,” she said. “If I had done something sooner, perhaps it wouldn’t have come to this. Ever since, I’ve been encouraging people to get screened.”
Though Nancy’s life has not changed much on the outside – she still enjoys beach days and beadwork – her experience was transformative. She continues to do what she loves all from a place of gratitude.
“It was found early,” she said. “That, to me, was the best thing.”
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 diagnostic 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.