Colorectal Cancer - Preventable, Treatable, Beatable: Staci Roy

July 19, 2016

For some people, the thought of getting a colonoscopy makes them cringe. Fortunately, if there's one thing you should know about getting a colonoscopy, it's that the experience is not nearly as bad as you think.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and former patient Staci Roy wants everyone to know that getting a colonoscopy is something people "just need to do" to appropriately screen for colon cancer. "Colon cancer is different. You can survive it if doctors find it early," she said emphatically.

Five years ago Staci visited the emergency room with intense abdominal pain caused by an appendicitis. She had surgery to remove her appendix, but her follow-up CT scan showed unidentifiable abnormalities in her colon. It turned out that Staci's appendicitis was actually caused by a golf ball-sized tumor that was pushing on her appendix.

Just weeks after ringing in the New Year, Staci got the diagnosis that changed her life: she had colon cancer. "When you hear that word, your whole world flashes in front of you," she said. In January 2004, Staci had 14 inches of her colon removed, and then underwent chemotherapy for nine months.

Staci was only 38 when she received her diagnosis, 12 years before doctors recommend screenings. While Staci is now cancer free, she gets a colonoscopy every 2 years. She is almost five years cancer-free, the time when doctors can say she is in remission. "I'm praying to get that 'I'll see ya when I see ya' from the doctor," she said.

Knowing your family history of colon cancer is critical since those with first and second-degree relatives are advised to begin screenings at age 40, versus age 50, when the general population should be screened.

Staci encourages people not to listen to what others have to say about the experience. "The worst part of a colonoscopy is the prep, and now it's not as bad as it used to be. The rest of it is a breeze. You don't even know; it's not painful or invasive by any means," she said.

If it's time for you to get screened, you can make an appointment with one of our physicians at the Digestive Health Center by calling 203.694.8585.

MidState Medical Center