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Robert Albanese

Patient/Survivor Stage II Rectal Cancer California
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A colonoscopy revealed a bleeding ulcer where a suspicious polyp had been removed six months prior. I was told I needed surgery right away. I underwent removal of the ascending colon and 10 cm of distal small bowel on 12/27/2010.

About 10 days later, I got a call from the gastroenterologist confirming the diagnosis of adenocarcinoma of colon. I was alone when I got the call.

The tumor was large and had several unfavorable characteristics. I was ultimately staged at "high-risk stage II." I was told that if the cancer were to recur, it would be incurable.

I'm a physician who worked on oncology units in residency, and I knew what dying of cancer looks like.

The anxiety and depression were overwhelming. It was the emperor of all existential crises.

I would tell anyone who may be afraid to seek medical advice or colorectal cancer screening that I am alive today because the cancer was found relatively early. Almost no one need die of this disease.

If it doesn't kill you, the cancer may be the best thing that ever happened to you, as strange as that sounds. I made huge lifestyle changes after the diagnosis, and my life is better now than it has ever been. One thing you have to do is let go of a lot of care and worry over things you have no control over.

All members of Congress should know that no one need die of this disease. Widespread screening should be easy and accessible.

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