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Angela Tripido

Patient/Survivor Stage IV Colon Cancer Florida
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Unfortunately, the AMA didn't change colonoscopy screenings to age 45 until COVID was happening and at a point in time when I was already older than 45.

At 50, I knew it was past time to be screened but my colonoscopy was initially delayed because of a move from the West Coast of the U.S. back to the East Coast.

Finally, at 50 and a half, I found a local facility to have a colonoscopy, and upon waking, the nurse said that they were bringing my husband back and that the doctor wanted to speak to us. At that moment  groggy and all  I knew something was "wrong."

The physician who performed my colonoscopy told my husband and I he needed me to get a CT scan "stat" because from 20 years of doing colonoscopies, he felt certain that I had stage IV cancer.

Obviously, this news took the wind right out of both of us. To be honest, I don't know how we made it home that day.

My only symptom had been unexplained weight loss. Looking back, my bowels had changed significantly, but I thought much of the change was from stress from our cross country move.

My treatments have included chemotherapy and surgery. As a result of chemo, my side effects include neuropathy and skin rashes.

I have not participated in a clinical trial I suppose because I did not pursue a trial/none was offered or recommended.

Going into December 2023, we believed that after 12 rounds of chemo and three major surgeries that my ctDNA would be "negative," but unfortunately it was positive and I begin maintenance chemo this week.

My advice to others would be that the sooner tumors are found, the better off you are!

My colon tumor spread terribly throughout my liver. Screenings are scary  starting treatment is scary; but the alternative is giving up.

My younger sister immediately got a colonoscopy after my diagnosis. They removed several pre-cancerous polyps.

She will now be screened every few years rather than in 10 years, and this will hopefully prevent her from going through what I have been through and will unfortunately continue to go through.

I have always been a "glass half full" person, and I can say that my belief in my ability to beat this has been game-changing. One of my chemo nurses said right away, "Try to keep your life as normal as you can." And I tried to live as normally as possible keeping active to the degree that I was able to with my chemo treatment schedule, along with three major surgeries and the recovery period from each.

It's also a well-known fact that no one can fight alone. I am so fortunate to have a team of warriors to support me and my husband and to have an elite medical establishment and team nearby for treatment.

Fighting cancer is a long and hard battle, but with a positive attitude and with love and support from family and friends: You can survive cancer!

Congress needs to consider many things when it comes to colorectal cancer: Screenings need to start much younger than 45!

It is far more economical to have insurance companies pay $3,000 on average for annual screenings than to pay $10,000 per chemo treatment on average.

And no American should have to go through treatment without insurance because costs are simply not manageable by an individual alone. Plus, survivorship is incredibly higher when a disease is prevented or found very early.

Finally, we also need more research to figure out how to better message about true warning signs and when/how to get screened because I have never smoked; have always eaten healthy and worked out regularly; and so I never would have thought colon cancer would ravage my body like it has. I sadly thought it was a disease that obese men got. Research has come a long, long way but for colorectal cancer, there is still along way to go to continue to advance treatments.

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