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Katie Couric and Colon Cancer

bryancarson's picture
bryancarson
Posts: 47
Joined: Jan 2004

Did anyone besides me get a chance to watch some of Katie Couric's excellent series on Colon Cancer last week on the Today Show? I thought she did a great job with the exception of one thing -- she forgets to tell people that colon cancer isn't just something that happens to people over 50. I was 29 when diagnosed and I know there are others here who are like me. She did the same thing last year and sent an email informing her that young people are affected by colon cancer also. I wasn't expecting to be interviewed or anythings, and maybe one voice wasn't enough for her to listen to. Tell me what you think. If you are under 50 and been diagnosed, write a little something here, and I will forward all the posts to Ms. Couric and the Today show and see if next March the young ones can get a little press time too!

MelStar
Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2004

Bryan,
I didn't watch any of Katie Couric's colon cancer series as I start work at 6 a.m. Colon cancer isn't something that happens to only people over 50. I was only 45 when I was diagnosed, with a family history of colon cancer. People need to be made aware that colon cancer can occur at any age, and if you have a family history of it, you need to go for early screening--don't wait until you're 50!!
Melody

Bonnie5
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2004

I WATCHED THE SAME SERIES. I WAS ONLY 43 WHEN I FOUND OUT I HAD COLON CANCER. IT TOOK THEM THREE YEARS TO FIND IT. tHEN IT WAS TOO LATE TO TAKE CARE OF WITH OUT HAVING TO HAVE A COLOSTOMY THE REST OF MY LIFE. i AM ANGRY THAT THEY FORGET EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT AND THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO THE ROLE . I JUST HAD TO OF BEEN ONE OF THE ONES WHO SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES. I HAVE A HARD TIME WITH THIS AND FIND IT HARD FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH. I HOPE YOU CAN GET TO HER. I TRIED THE DAY BEFORE MY FIRST SURGERY TO TELL HER BUT I HAD RECIEVED NO REPLY. iT REALLY NEEDS TO GET OUT SO PEOPLE YOUNGER MAY BE ABLE TO READ THE SIGNS AND KNOW THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE FIFTY OR OLDER TO GET IT.

Sheepy's picture
Sheepy
Posts: 48
Joined: Nov 2003

Being in the UK I've never even heard of Katie Couric!
But being diagnosed at 38, I couldn't agree more - we're not a representative sample here, but we're all real people with real lives. We're not asking for much - we just want to be taken seriously.

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

I am surprised that Katie did not mention more about younger people, because her husband was in his 40's when he was diagnosed. I was 46 when I was diagnosed one year ago with stage 3 rectal cancer. I tell everyone I know to go get a colonoscopy.

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Bryan -

Great post. Unfortunately I missed Katie's series, too. You are right on target about being "too young". I've shared my story before, but I'll tell it again:

I was 33 when my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. Armed with my understanding of genetics, the fact of my mother's cancer and the knowledge that her father died from colon cancer; I marched over to the base clinic and asked the doctor to schedule me a colonoscopy. The doctir told me I was too young and that I shouldn't worry about it. I got the same song and dance the next two times I asked, so I dropped it. Lo and behold, 4 years later who has colon cancer with visceral invasion? Based on the size of the masses, how long did the pathologists feel I had been sick? Go figure; about 4-5 years. Guess what the National Cancer Institute found when they did genetic screening on me? I have a genetic mutation that causes colon cancer - maybe I ain't as dumb as the ol' doc thought I wuz.

Doctors telling you you're too young? I have something for you to tell your doctor... but I'll get censored if I write it here.

Thanks, Bryan, for carrying the mail for us young folks (jeez... did I really just describe myself as young? COOL)! Hope you're doing well.

- SpongeBob

kerry's picture
kerry
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi Bryan,

I not only missed Katie Couric, but I missed our very own celebrities on the Sharon Osbourne show. I am on a tirade about making colonoscopies a part of a regular examination at least every 5 years, beginning earlier than 50. I was diagnosed at 52 and the surgeon said that I could easily have begun developing the polyp and the disease 10 years prior. Wow! Not only that, I had a sigmoidoscopy the year before I was diagnosed with colon cancer!! Go figure! Why would anyone do a sigmoid that only checks 25% of something when a colonoscopy checks 100%. Insurance companies think they have us by the "you know what".

Celebrities use their influence to vent about politics, etc, I think Katie should use her influence to really make a bigger impact on Colon Cancer Awareness. I talk about it every chance I get - I am not ashamed that I had colon cancer, in fact, if I can make more people aware of the testing available and that it can be a preventable disease, the better I will feel.

I have 2 young (23 and 25) daughters and you can believe they are getting tested asap.

Thanks for the vent. I'm with you. Let me know what to do.

Kerry

p.s. I have also emailed Katie Couric and there has never been an answer. You would think she would have a PR person to take care of that.

bill1109
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2004

Being in recoverery from my surgery the Tuesday before, I was able to watch the entire series.

On Tuesday they had a story about the the ex-football player and how he was diagnosed at 43 and died at 45. I guess this is to be implied that people younger then 50 can get and die from colon cancer too.

As for the colonscopy, I was at first denied a colonoscopy at age 55 and with a family history.

The next year I asked again and this time was approved. It still cost me over $550 out of pocket expense to get the colonoscopy, but it was the best $550 I ever spent.

If I had my colonoscopy the year earlier, I would have most likely been diagnosed and could have even had the adenoma removed during this procedure, with no surgery required. I don't know, I only know what happened and I was one of the lucky ones who had the surgery in time and, at this time, have no positive biopsies.

As you see from my story, you can still be over 50 and have a family history and still get denied. This is such a penny wise, pound foolish decision by the insurance companies.

My adenoma was only 1 cm in size when discovered, but would have been even smaller the year before and probably not been biopsied as pre-cancerous if I had the colonscopy then. My surgery might not have been needed.

You can bet I won't take no for an answer in the future.

grandma047's picture
grandma047
Posts: 381
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Bryan, I was diagnosed last year, a little after my 49th birthday. Almost made it to the 50 yr mark, but how much worse it have been? Considering that even with the good care I got, I have had a recurrecnce less than 6 months later. I am having chemo and radiation and will finish next week then I will have colon resection and permanent colostomy. If only I would had it sooner. I have constant bleeding for 6 months. Had had diarehea for some time and it was blamed on my gall bladder surgery. Also, had bleeding off and on, which they blamed on a hemorhoid. So, who know, I might not be going through this if I had had an earlier colonoscopy. Hope my story helps.
Judy H(grandma047)

livin
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi Bryancarson, I was dx at age 46 stage 111 after a bout of Breast Cancer at age 44. I was told I could have had my Colon Cancer 10 years pryor. I was getting monthly C.E.A.s for the Breast Cancer but it didn't show nothing going on with any Cancers. Thats why I donot recognize C.E.A. as being helpful for me. I still get them but I don't trust them. l have always thought the starting age for Colonoscopy was wrong.

efw
Posts: 20
Joined: Jul 2003

I was also 29 when I was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. I would guess Katie Couric doesn't focus on people younger than 50 because we'll never eradicate the disease in younger people. Insurance companies will pay for colonoscopies if you're over 50, but it's rare if you're under that age. And most people aren't going to pay the money out of their own pocket to have a colonoscopy just as part of their routine check-up. So yes, colon cancer is easily preventable in people over 50, but there will always be young people who end up with it. I would guess Katie Couric is only trying to spread the word for older people because, unfortunately, nothing else is realistic.

underfifty
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2004

Count me too. Female and under fifty (49) when I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer with mets to my duodenum and liver. Ironically, a few months before my diagnosis, I had accompanied an over 50 male friend to his colonoscopy appointment and noticed many other 50+ men in the waiting room. My friend was fine, but a few months later I was diagnosed during a routine exam--my bloodwork showed I was very anemic and my doctor ordered more tests.

I was initially told that my cancer was inoperable and began agressive chemotherapy, which shrank my tumors nearly 70%. Approximately 8 months later, my physicians were willing to try surgery. My colon tumors were in my cecum (near the appendix), so my ascending colon was removed, along with a section of my duodenum. Unfortunately, it would have been too difficult to do any more surgery at that time, so liver resection (4 liver tumors) was not performed. I was told that if the tumors did not grow, that surgery on my liver could be tried again in 6 months. Unfortunately, the liver tumors grew, even after undergoing more chemo. My oncologist gave me very little hope, but I did find a surgeon who thought I would be a good candidate for liver resection and successfully performed the surgery--exactly six months after my first surgery. Since then, I have been undergoing weekly systemic chemo and intra-arterial chemo which is administered through a pump in my liver. So far so good. My last scan looked clear, and I'm almost through with my chemo. Then I'll have another CT scan and hope for the best.

To get back to the point of my reply, colon cancer was not one of the cancers I was ever concerned about, but I have since met several women who were diagnosed well before 50. I feel unlucky to have found out at such a late stage of the cancer, but then I feel lucky that I was diagnosed at all. My only symptom--in retrospect--was weight loss, which I thought was because I was going through a divorce just before my diagnosis.

Lisa Rose's picture
Lisa Rose
Posts: 589
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Bryan,

Like so many of the others count me in the under 50's group!!! I was diagnosed at 40 years of age.

Lisa

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi bryan,

Count me in. I was 39 at dx and my sister was in her 20's. She died at 33. They tell me my tumor may have been in there for up to 10 yrs.

Also, my sister was the first in our family to have intestinal cancer. No family history.

Sorry I missed the show. The TV is usually on Rolie Polie Olie about that time. With 5 kids (homeschooling three) I don't have time to watch TV!

peace, emily

4mykids
Posts: 33
Joined: Mar 2004

I was 36 when I was diagnosed, and so many people (especially in the medical professional) tell me I am so young for colon cancer. I just don't believe that anymore. I have heard so many stories since my diagnosis of people with colon cancer at a young age (not to mention on this board) that I think that myth needs to just go away! People should be able to get the testing done as early as they deem necessary. And the insurance companies are fools not to allow it. After all, how much more will they spend on advance colon cancer treatment than early colonoscopies! Just my 2 cents!!

Michelle

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