MARCI WESTLAKE | Age at Diagnosis: 31 | Hometown: Sparks, NV
STEVE DELUCA | Age at Diagnosis: 33 | Hometown: Mt. Prospect, IL
Marci Westlake and Steve DeLuca are both perfect examples of how random and unpredictable colorectal cancer can be. After two children, Marci thought her rectal bleeding was hemorrhoids. When she was finally referred to a gastroenterologist, he laughed at her problems and concerns. After two exams were canceled, she found someone who took her health seriously. Marci’s new doctor insisted on giving her a colonoscopy before he left town the next day. He already feared that she had colorectal cancer.
Marci had a colonoscopy and surgery, but despite her symptoms, did not have advanced cancer. She had stage I colon cancer and didn’t need chemotherapy. Marci has now been cancer-free for five years.
Unlike Marci, Steve had almost no symptoms. His doctor noticed rectal bleeding during a routine exam and sent him directly to a gastroenterologist, who ordered a colonoscopy. Steve had two tumors in his colon and was sent for surgery before starting chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer. He ran out of sick days during treatment, but his co-workers at the firehouse picked up the slack.
Steve has been cancer-free for over a year. He believes that if his doctor hadn’t been paying attention, he probably would not be here today.