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Dave Bethune

Patients & Survivors Stage III Rectal Cancer Massachusetts

Story: "In 2013, I went to my annual check-up exam with my doctor. As a busy dad of three children, I was tired a lot, and at that time, we had a freshman in college, a freshman in high school, and one child in eighth grade. I've been an athlete my whole life, and I take care of myself, working out four to five times per week on average, and cycling 25 to 30 miles when I can. My doctor noticed something in my bloodwork and gave me a referral to get a colonoscopy. I didn't really think much of it, but I was a little concerned because the doctor was concerned. But I did the prep, and I had the colonoscopy. I remember waking up from the procedure and my wife Maria was standing next to me, and there was a doctor in a white lab coat at the foot of the bed. I was a bit groggy, but I remember thinking this might not be great! The doctor said they found something, and they were pretty sure it was cancer: They wanted to do a few additional tests, but if it was cancer, we needed to figure out next steps in a timely manner. That was a nice and professional way of saying, 'It's cancer, and it's moving fast!' The official diagnosis was 'T3 N1 rectal cancer @ 8cm.'"
Advice: "If I didn't go to my doctor's appointment and subsequent colonoscopy, I would not be here - I would be dead and gone. Yes, that is harsh, but that is the truth. If you want to live, then you cannot ignore your body!
"Always remember, that as bad as you feel during treatment, that the cancer feels worse! Do the work; don't cut corners; and give 100% of yourself to defeating cancer! In 2018 I started #%@! Cancer Fight Club offering free monthly boxing classes to anyone impacted by cancer: Boxing and throwing punches was a great way of fighting back and being able to unload that angst and aggression that we all have when fighting a silent opponent like cancer. In April, we celebrated our fourth anniversary with 52 people attending class! In 2021 with the help of my daughters, I was able to self-publish a book titled "#%@! Cancer Fight Club - 10 Core Principles & Inspirational Messages to Fight Cancer," with the hopes of sharing experiences and the unknown that comes with a cancer diagnosis, and to inspire and empower others, and provide them with resources that I wish that I had throughout my journey. Always remember: You are stronger than you think you are!"

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