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Stéphanie Lévesque

Patient/Survivor Stage III Rectal Cancer Canada
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It was February 14, 2023, Valentine's Day, that my partner and I met with the surgeon who did my colonoscopy on February 6.

It's as if my brain wasn't assimilating the information: It was telling me that I had stage III colorectal cancer. But the “good” news is that my tumor was well-located and the affected lymph nodes were as well.

My partner held my hand and reassured me that we would face this together.

Symptoms included rectal bleeding or blood in my stool; ongoing change in bowel habits; and unexplained, sudden weight loss.

My surgeon explained the game plan to me, but after radiotherapy everything changed because I had rare complications: 1 chance in 1,000,000 I was told! And it didn't stop there; after each step I had complications. My treatments included chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. I've had biomarker testing, and I've also had an ileostomy.

Some side effects as a result of treatment are pain, and anxiety, stress, or mental health issues/illness.

Something members of Congress need to know about colorectal cancer patients' needs is that we need adequate care, with shorter waits for required tests, such as colonoscopy.

My advice to someone who is afraid to seek medical advice or a colorectal cancer screening is this: Don't be scared, colonoscopy is the most effective way to detect colorectal cancer. I waited too long, and luckily it wasn't too late for me! But this is not the case for everyone! Focus on the positive. Stop comparing yourself to other people with the same cancer because each case is different even if the cancer is the same!

Despite everything, I am still here on my two feet! I'm not giving up! The treatments are not finished. We are waiting for what happens next, February 13, 2024, almost a year after the announcement of my cancer!

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