Uncategorized

Never Too Young – Survivor Story: Marie Taurasi

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

First, I would like to thank Colorectal Cancer Canada (CCC) for letting me tell my story. Secondly, thank you to you the reader for taking the time to listen to my story….
My name is Marie Taurasi, I am 47 years old and I was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer in January 2015.

It all started back in November 2014. I was having very few symptoms, but I decided have myself checked out anyway. I underwent a colonoscopy and that is when my world came crashing down. I was told that I had stage 3 colorectal cancer. All I could think of was the heartache my husband and two children (age 13 and 17) were feeling and what also went through my head at the time was…”what is going to happen to me?”. I had my 13 year old daughter look into my eyes with tears and say “mom, are you going to die?”. My heart sank, my life and world as I had known it were shattered. This could not be happening to me…..”Cancer”??

Thankfully a friend introduced me to my “Angel”, Filomena Servidio-Italiano from CCC. I immediately called her and from the moment we spoke I knew I was in the best hands possible. She calmed me down and educated me on my disease, which I knew nothing about. I had heard very little about colorectal cancer but never truly understood it. She changed all that. She then referred me to the best cancer centre and team of oncologists. My journey had begun.

Once all was put in place, I underwent radiation and chemotherapy for my rectal cancer in March 2015. In July I underwent surgery and had my tumour removed. After 6 weeks I did additional chemotherapy.

I have to say Filomena has been there from the very beginning, offering guidance and support day or night. Without her I would not be where I am today!

I am also grateful to have an amazing and supportive husband and two wonderful children. I am also grateful for the on-going support of family and friends who have been there for me during this difficult time.

Throughout this journey with the education, support and guidance of CCC, I have learned a lot about this disease and one thing is “this is not an old person’s disease”. This disease can affect all ages. It does not discriminate. We need to educate ourselves and be pro-active as much as possible. We need to eat healthy, exercise moderately and assume a healthy lifestyle in general so that we can try to prevent colorectal cancer. In the event one does get diagnosed, assuming a healthy lifestyle will come in handy in trying to prevent a recurrence such as in my case. Unbeknown to me, colorectal cancer is the most preventable cancer through screening! People need to be aware of the signs and symptoms though so that we can beat this disease once and for all.

This is where CCC comes in. This is an organization that is here for people like you and I, who desperately require support, guidance and above all education so that we can get through the ups and downs that we go through when battling this horrible disease. CCC furnish patients and caregivers with valuable monthly support groups wherein we are able to tell our stories and receive the best up to date information about the management of the disease and the most current medicines and therapies designed to help us.

I am so fortunate that I started my journey with CCC because without them I would not be “cancer-free today”! What a gift they gave not only to me but to my precious children and husband!
Thank you Filomena, for all your support and guidance you have given me and my family!!! You truly are an “Angel”!

Please continue to give generously to this amazing organization. They have made a huge difference in my life……they gave it back to me!!

Thank you
Marie Taurasi
Colorectal Cancer Survivor

Joy’s Story…Never Stop Fighting!

Joy’s Story…Never Stop Fighting!

I’ll never forget the nurse coming out to get me and asking me to come back into the doctor’s office. It was my husband Geoff’s first routine colonoscopy. My heart sank as I had already been through this with my dad and knew it couldn’t be good news. All I remember hearing was Stage III and looking at Geoff’s face. How could this be – no signs and he was so young (52) and healthy.

After the shock wore off, I was determined to find out everything I needed to do to help him get through this. Our journey began, and we went on to start our 12 rounds of chemo. We were fortunate enough to live right beside the Wellspring Cancer Centre in Oakville where we found out that a lady named Filomena Servidio-Italiano of Colorectal Cancer Canada had a group that met once a month. Thank goodness we found this group. She was/is amazing. It was the first time we felt that maybe things will be alright. Her knowledge and connections were endless. I honestly don’t think she sleeps!!!

Geoff was given the all clear after his 12 rounds of chemo and we were thrilled. Then less than 2 years later it returned with a vengeance. Stage IV – colon, liver, lungs and bones. I remember calling Filomena in tears and she said “there are no tears here, together we are going to fight”. The next thing I know, she made sure we got in to see one of the best doctors at Sunnybrook so we could find out what our options were. We started chemo again but unfortunately Geoff ended up with a fever after his 2nd round and was hospitalized and passed away after becoming septic 2 months later.

To this day I look back and ask myself if there was something more I could have done. Well if you ask Filomena, who is relentless in the fight against Colon Cancer, there is!!! Her/my new mission is to bring awareness to the fact that we need to be screened much earlier. I am so grateful to know Filomena and having three daughters who will need to be screened, you can bet I am right on board with her.

This March Give Back!

Men and women have been adorning themselves with jewelry for ages.

There are many reasons why people love their bling:

#1 As accessories used to spruce up any outfit
#2 As emotional pieces tied to heirlooms or sentimental gifts of love and affection
#3 Or as symbols of social status

Whatever your reason, ANZIE jewelry has stunning pieces that will not only turn heads but also help save butts!

During March, Anzie Jewelry will be donating 10% of their proceeds (20% if the item is in the “Lifesaver” collection) to Colorectal Cancer Canada!

For more information: https://www.anzie.com/product_life.php

Our Story: the Halladays

Wouldn’t it be nice if “our story” was just one about our marriage, our children, our life together and our family .. but “our story” also involves cancer. Colorectal cancer that my husband has been fighting for 3 years.

Ryan was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer in March 2015. He was 39 years old, and otherwise in great health. In September 2015, he had treatment to shrink and surgically remove the tumor. He also received chemotherapy to ensure the cancer was gone. In January 2017, through a routine scan, it was discovered that the cancer had moved to his liver. In February 2017, he had 1/3 of his liver removed. In June 2017, he had a clean CT scan, but in November through a visit to the ER department, a CT scan showed a recurrent mass (cancer) on the outside of this rectum. This is called a “local re-occurrence”.

Our family, our amazing supportive family, has done this a few times: receive the news, process it, and then get ready for the “fight of our lives”. This one was the hardest: we know that when cancer comes back, it’s never good. We waited 10 days, 10 really long and sad days to meet with the surgeon, who sat across from us and said there was “nothing” that they could do, and a referral would be put in to someone who might be able to help.

This was devastating and horrible! I wouldn’t wish this moment on anyone. The next day my husband and I woke up, looked at each other and decided “this can not be it”. We are not done fighting, there has to be an option, there must be someone out there who can help us.

I have worked in not-for-profit my whole career, yet I never thought to find the association that deals with colorectal cancer, not until that day. I wish that I had found them 3 years ago because that moment, that day when I reached out to Colorectal Cancer Canada, our life changed, our fight changed, and our outcome changed.

A representative from Colorectal Cancer Canada reached out to me on a Saturday night, immediately I emailed her and talked to me for 40 minutes about options. She gave me hope for the future, and within seconds I knew I had an advocate. We were referred to the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook, a centre of excellence. We were also told about the “Young Adult Colorectal Cancer Clinic” headed up by Dr. Shady Ashamalla. This is a clinic which specializes in treatment for those people diagnosed with the disease before the age of 50. We had an appointment with a highly skilled and expert surgeon in a week’s time. He believes he can remove the tumor and bring my husband back to health, a life without cancer. A week later, we had met the rest of the team: the radiation oncologist and medical oncologist. Each appointment, moved us further in our plan and each interaction with the staff at Sunnybrook and Colorectal Cancer Canada has been positive, uplifting and safe.

As I mentioned before, that first call I made to Colorectal Cancer Canada changed our life because we took the power back, we have a plan and an excellent care team. It changed our fight; now we are fighting with more knowledge; our team of supporters has grown; we have an entire organization and cancer clinic supporting us in this journey and it has changed our outcome. Before I called Colorectal Cancer Canada, we had to sit down and tell our young daughters for the 3rd time that their dad has cancer and unsure if anything could be done. After the call and the support we received from Colorectal Cancer Canada though, we were able to tell our daughters differently! Yes, their dad has recurrent cancer, but his medical team has a curative treatment plan in place and is working very hard to achieve a goal of no evidence of disease (NED) for him. We know nothing is absolute, and anything can happen, but we have hope, knowledge and advocates as we navigate through this part of the journey with Colorectal Cancer Canada, and that is a huge difference!

Our story if one of hope. Cancer will not define us! Instead, our determination and willingness to do everything we possibly can to help my husband Ryan will define us as a united family. Thank you Colorectal Cancer Canada!

With much gratitude,
Christina Halladay

Dress in Blue Day

Dress in Blue Day

Today is DRESS IN BLUE DAY! Together, let’s show our support to those affected by colorectal cancer. Share your photos using #DressinBlueDay #ColorectalCancerAwarenessMonth

On Dress in Blue Day, and throughout Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, you can help raise awareness about the second most common cancer in Canada. Today, and all throughout the month, we encourage families, businesses and organizations to dress in blue to show support for those touched by colorectal cancer, and to also share important information on how a healthy lifestyle and effective screening can save lives.

Why Go Blue?

Dress in Blue Day is a good opportunity to engage in an activity that raises awareness about colorectal cancer prevention, while celebrating survivors and remembering loved ones lost too soon. In addition, organizing a fundraiser in your community forges stronger bonds between friends and neighbors while supporting the Colorectal Cancer Canada mission. We are the country’s leading colorectal cancer not for profit patient organization dedicated to colorectal cancer awareness and education, supporting patients and their families and advocating on their behalf.

How to Go Blue?

• Ask friends and families to show their support by wearing blue
• Hold a contest for the most creative blue outfits
• Distribute colorectal cancer awareness materials
• Decorate your home or workplace with blue lights and blue accents
• Share on social media why this cause matters to you

5 steps to raise money for the cause
1. Visit dressinblueday.ca
2. Create a team
3. Set a goal
4. Start fundraising
5. Wear blue

For more information, visit dressinblueday.ca or contact Frank Pitman at frankp@colorectalcancercanada.com (514) 875-7745 ext. 2529

CCC TESTIMONIAL – Gemma Madamba

CCC TESTIMONIAL – Gemma Madamba

“My name is Gemma (Filipino-Canadian). I have colorectal cancer, stage 3b with no symptoms before I got diagnosed. I am 55-year-old, single mom with three sons and one grandson and I am the first cancer patient in my family. Every cancer patient differs in terms of struggles because each of us have a different system where our body responds differently from the chemo drug and other drugs to make us well. I had suffered side effects that my oncologist calls rare, but I battle my disease with faith in God, faith in my doctors, medical team and faith in myself that I have lived to this day to share my story.

I firmly believe that fighting cancer with positivity is the most powerful weapon to battle it. I was inspired and dedicated to volunteer as a fundraiser for Colon Cancer Canada now Colorectal Cancer Canada and I support the Wendy Bear Assistance Program which assist colorectal cancer patients with their financial needs. A legacy that I wish to be a part of Wendy Sittler’s goal to help those afflicted with this disease. I call my campaign “Gemma Loves Blue”.

https://ccc.akaraisin.com/personalpages/07bd5aec6a4d49aebe3f7ae79940da97

To date I was blessed to raise $3,445.00 and it will continue to rise, as I find more people to support our cause. I believe in the importance of this program and I wanted to do more to help my fellow colorectal cancer patients. It has been a year that I am now a volunteer in spreading awareness and motivating a lot of people to support the Wendy Bears. The most uplifting part is I had the opportunity to reach out to colorectal cancer patients and we bonded in friendships in terms of comforting each other’s pains and suffering because of this disease. I believe that I am a living legacy to inspire others with the disease.

I am determined in what I do, and I am encouraging my fellow colorectal cancer patients to be strong and if you can join me supporting the cause of Colorectal Cancer Canada then we can make a difference not only to ourselves but for others as well. What is wrong with our BUTT can make wonders for others if we try to be a part of every BUTT around us.”

Canadian’s New Food Guide Moving Away From Meat Consumption – Give it a try with us during Meat Free Week!

Canadian’s New Food Guide Moving Away From Meat Consumption – Give it a try with us during Meat Free Week!

In the past two decades, Canadians have shifted towards a diet which includes more fruits and vegetables, cereal products, and nuts and beans.

With more and more Canadians making the switch, it is no wonder that Health Canada just released its preliminary draft of Canada’s new Food Guide, the first such overhaul of the country’s nutrition policy in ten years. The changes are long overdue, say health care experts, many of whom see the proposal as a step in the right direction.

The preliminary draft highlights include:

• The importance of adding whole foods to your diet, specifically plant-based foods (such as legumes) as a preferred source of protein
• Regular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods, especially plant-based sources of protein
• A shift away from animal foods by advising that people eat foods with unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat

Even though statistics in the last 3 decades show a steady decline in Canadian meat consumption, there are still many meat lovers that remain skeptical about making the switch despite the World Health Organization’s classification of red meat – including, beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat – as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
WHO found an even stronger link between processed meat – such as salami and hotdogs, and bowel cancer.

Studies conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund show bowel cancer risk increases by 17% per 100g of red meat consumed per day and that bowel cancer risk increases by 18% per 50g of processed meat consumed per day.

• ¼ cooked hamburger = 80g
• 8 oz steak = 170g
• Spaghetti Bolognese sauce = 100g
• 1 large sausage = 40g processed meat
• 3 slices of ham = 70g processed meat

Read more about how you can reduce your bowel cancer risk.

Try Going Meatless For a Week With Us!

People around the world will be going meatless next week including all of us at Colorectal Cancer Canada for Meat Free Week (18th-24th September 2017). This new campaign challenges participants to give up meat for seven days and raise funds for a great cause.

Going meat free for one week creates a great opportunity to start thinking about how much meat you eat and the impact eating too much meat can have.

Everyone is invited to take the Meat Free Week challenge and discover how easy it is to make little changes that can create a big difference. Challenge yourself, your family, your friends and colleagues to give up meat for seven days.

Sign up for Meat Free Week and raise funds for a great cause!

Not able to participate, but still want to help make real change happen? Make a donation today.

If you’re already living meat free, there are still plenty of ways you can get involved in Meat Free Week.

+ Meat Free Week: Live well. Eat well. Be well.

• Adopt a physically active lifestyle.
• Consume a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant-based foods.
• Maintain a healthy body weight.

Are you following our healthy our foods that fight cancer program?
Once you’ve made it through Meat Free Week, this is a great on-going support program that can help you eat better and live healthier.

Check us out today via our website or facebook page!

About Foods That Fight Cancer

Who Are We?

We are believers of FOOD.

We want to empower Canadians to take charge & take over their health!

So Welcome fellow food enthusiast! Learn about foods here, find your favorites recipes, invite your friends & family, and TAKE OVER your kitchen & your health!

References:

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/21-020-x/2009001/part-partie1-eng.htm
https://www.cantechletter.com/2017/07/look-meat-eaters-canadas-new-food-guide-will-turn-vegetarian/

Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Information Guide

Endangered Butts Come in All Shapes, Sizes and Ages!

Endangered Butts Come in All Shapes, Sizes and Ages!

About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in cells of the colon or rectum.

1 in 14 men and 1 in 16 women are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year in Canada. Approximately 25,100 Canadians were diagnosed with CRC in 2015. It is the 2nd deadliest cancer, although the disease is more than 90% curable if detected early. Colorectal cancer is Preventable, Treatable and Beatable!

Colorectal cancer most often touches individuals over the age of 50 and over ninety percent (90%) of patients are over 55 years of age. Ten percent (10%) of new colon cancer patients however are under the age of 50. Individuals with certain risk factors such as a family history of polyps, colon cancer or genetic alterations, have an increased risk of developing colon cancer at a younger age. Sixteen percent (16%) of patients under the age of 40 have been reported to have predisposing factors and twenty-three percent (23%) had a family history of the disease.

Table 1: Number of new cases of colorectal cancer diagnoses in 2015 by age group in Canada

chart 1 EN

About the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (“CCAC”)

The CCAC is dedicated to colorectal cancer awareness and education, supporting patients and their families, and advocating on their behalf. The CCAC raises awareness and provides important and practical information to colorectal cancer patients, young and old. Together with the Never Too Young (“N2Y”) coalition, we provide support and information to young patients in Canada who have experienced early onset of the disease.

About N2Y

The Never Too Young Coalition is united to take action on young onset of colorectal cancer through action, education, and research. The Coalition includes medical professionals, patient advocacy organizations, cancer survivors and caregivers working to educate the public about this growing issue and to reduce the number of late stage young-onset colorectal cancer cases.

As the leading national colorectal cancer patient advocacy organization in Canada, we’re dedicated to bringing together the brightest minds to increase screening and to promote equal and timely access to effective treatments to improve patient outcomes.

Symptoms of CRC

• Blood in the stool
• Narrower-than-normal stools
• Prolonged diarrhea or constipation
• Feeling that the bowel does not completely feel empty
• Abdominal pain or discomfort
• Loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss
• Constant fatigue, anemia
• Nausea, vomiting

Risk Factors

Family History of Colon Cancer or polyps

About 10% of the population has a first degree relative with colon or rectal cancer.

First and second degree relatives (children, siblings, grandchildren, nieces, nephews) of a person with a history of colon cancer are more likely to develop CRC themselves, especially if their relative had the cancer at a young age. If several close relatives have a history of colon cancer, there is an increased risk. In view of this increased risk, both the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC) recommend screening as of the age 40 for these high-risk individuals or ten years earlier than the youngest age of colorectal cancer diagnosis for any affected relative.

Genetic Alterations

Changes in certain genes increase your risk of colon cancer.

Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC or Lynch Syndrome) is the most common type of inherited colon cancer, accounting for about 2% of all colon cancer cases. It is caused by changes in a HNPCC gene. If not closely monitored, most individuals with this altered gene will develop colon cancer, with the average age at diagnosis being 42-45, and 35-40% being diagnosed before the age of 40. General screening guidelines recommend colonoscopy every 1-2 years, beginning between the ages of 20-25, or five years younger than the earliest age at diagnosis in the family, whichever is sooner.

Much rarer is familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) an inherited condition in which hundreds of polyps form in the colon and rectum. It is caused by a change in a specific gene called APC. Unless FAP is treated, it usually leads to colon cancer by age 40. FAP accounts for less than 1% of all colon cancer cases.

Family members of individuals who have HNPCC or FAP can have genetic testing to check for specific genetic changes. For those who have changes in their genes, healthcare providers may suggest ways to try to reduce the risk of colon cancer or to improve the detection of this disease. For adults with FAP, the doctor may recommend the removal of all or part of the colon and rectum.

Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease

A person who has had a condition that causes inflammation of the colon (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease) for many years is at an increased risk of developing colon cancer. Patients should therefore be screened regularly.

Other Factors

Other factors contributing to young-onset of colon cancer have not been definitely identified, but we do know they occur with an increased prevalence of obesity and diabetes. Factors that may increase your risk of colon cancer include:

• There is approximately two times higher risk of developing colorectal cancer later life if you are overweight or obese during adolescence.
• A diet high in red or processed meat and low in fiber, vegetables and fruits.
• Inactivity: 12-14% of colorectal cancer could be attributed to lack in physical activity
• Smoking
• Increase consumption of alcohol
• Racial and ethnic background

Statistics and Data

• Colon cancer incidence and mortality rates are increasing in the young-onset population while decreasing in those over 50.
• About 30% of young-onset colorectal cancer cases develop in those with a family history of the disease or genetic disposition.
• Young-onset rectal cancer incidence has increased at nearly twice the rate of young-onset colon cancer.
• About 72% of cases of colorectal cancer in young people arise in the colon and about 28% in the rectum.
• Younger adults were more likely than older adults to be diagnosed with late-stage cancers.
• Rates have been increasing in all younger age groups with the highest increases for the 15-29 years old, followed by the 30-39 years old and then 40-49.
• The increase is more rapid in males compared to females.
• Diabetes has been associated with up to a 38% increase in colon cancer risk and 20% increase in rectal cancer risk.

Prevention

Research shows that a high fat diet is a risk factor for colon cancer. Some studies have also suggested that a diet high in fiber and a lifestyle that includes moderate exercise are helpful in preventing the disease. Be aware of symptoms and getting recommended screenings are key factors in prevention of the disease.
After speaking to family members and gathering your family health history, speak to your primary care provider about ways to improve your diet and lifestyle to prevent colon cancer and about scheduling preventative screenings when necessary. A healthy lifestyle and healthy body weight is important for prevention of all cancers.

Screening

• Men and women at average risk, screening should be done at least every two years starting at fifty years old with either FOBT (fecal occult blood test) or FIT (fecal immunochemical test). Positive FOBT or FIT tests should be followed up with a colonoscopy.
• Screening has the potential to prevent colorectal cancer because polyps found in the colon (precursors to cancer) can be removed during a colonoscopy screening. Furthermore, being screened at the recommended frequency increases the likelihood that when colorectal cancer is present, it will be detected at an earlier stage and is more likely to be treatable and curable.

Table 2: Canadian Colon Screening Guidelines

chart 2 EN

Genetics

Tests have been developed that look at the activity of many different genes in colon cancer tumors. These tests can be used to help predict which patients have a higher risk that the cancer will spread.

Lynch Syndrome (see also previous section of genetic alterations)

Lynch syndrome is a mutation of a gene that is responsible for fixing errors in your DNA. Lynch Syndrome, also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), is an hereditary disorder caused by a genetic mutation in which affected individuals have a higher than normal chance of developing colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and various other types of aggressive cancers, often at a young age. To prevent colorectal cancer, people with Lynch Syndrome should undergo a colonoscopy every 1-2 years, starting in their twenties. Doing this will reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 77%.

People with Lynch syndrome have a mutation of the MMR gene, which means their bodies are less able to fix errors in the DNA. Consequently, a person with Lynch syndrome is more likely to get certain types of cancer. Lynch syndrome increases the risk of getting colorectal cancer by 80 percent and endometrial cancer by 60 percent. Lynch syndrome may also lead to other cancers, such as small bowel and stomach cancer. Lynch syndrome accounts for 2- 4% of all colorectal cancer cases.

Treatments and Effects

1. Newer surgery techniques:

Surgeons are continuing to improve their techniques for operating on colorectal cancers. They now have a better understanding of what makes colorectal surgery more likely to be successful.
Laparoscopic surgery is done through several small incisions in the abdomen instead of one large one, and it’s becoming more widely used for some colon cancers. This approach usually allows patients to recover faster, with less pain after the operation. Laparoscopic surgery is also being studied for treating some rectal cancers, but more research is needed to see if it as effective as standard surgery.

With robotic surgery, a surgeon sits at a control panel and operates very precise robotic arms to perform the surgery. This type of surgery is also being studied.

2. Chemotherapy:

Different approaches are being tested in clinical trials, including:

• Five most common chemotherapy drugs: 5-fluorouracil (Adrucil, 5-fu), capecitabine (Xeloda), oxaliplatin (Eloxatin), and irinotecan (Camptosar).
• Combination of drugs known to be active against colorectal cancer, such as irinotecan and oxaliplatin, improve their effectiveness.
• Combination of chemotherapy with radiation therapy, targeted therapies, and/or immunotherapy.

3. Targeted therapy:

Several targeted therapies are already used to treat colorectal cancer, including bevacizumab (Avastin), cetuximab (Erbitux), and panitumumab (Vectibix). Doctors continue to study the best way to give these drugs to make them more effective.

Targeted therapies are currently used to treat advanced cancers, but newer studies are trying to determine if using them with chemotherapy in earlier stage cancers as part of adjuvant therapy may further reduce the risk of recurrence.

4. Immunotherapy:

Researchers are studying several vaccines to try to treat colorectal cancer or prevent it from coming back after treatment. Unlike vaccines that prevent infectious diseases, these vaccines are meant to boost the patient’s immune reaction to fight colorectal cancer more effectively.

Because cancer treatments may damage healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Side effects depend mainly on the type and extent of the treatment. While many effects may be the same, there are some unique challenges those diagnosed and going through treatment under age 50 may encounter, including:

• Relationships with family and friends
• Impact on young children
• Dating issues
• Infertility issues
• Intimacy issues
• Career/workplace issues
• Financial issues
• Psychological issues

References

1. Ahnen et al. (2014). The Increasing Incidence of Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer: A Call to Action. Mayo Clinic.
2. McKay et al. (2014). Does young age influence the prognosis of colorectal cancer: a population-based analysis. World of Surgical Oncology.
3. Patel, P. & De, P. (2016). Trends in colorectal cancer incidence and related lifestyle risk factors in 15-49-year-olds in Canada, 1969-2010. Cancer Epidemiology.
4. Stigliano et al. (2014). Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer: A Sporadic or Inherited Disease? World Journal of Gastroenterology.
5. Alive And Kickn. (2015). http://aliveandkickn.org/
6. Canadian Cancer Society. (2016). http://www.cancer.ca/en/?region=on
7. Colon Cancer Alliance. (2016). http://www.ccalliance.org/
8. Colon Cancer Coalition. (2016). http://coloncancercoalition.org/
9. Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. (2016). http://www.colorectal-cancer.ca/en/
10. Fight Colorectal Cancer. (2016). http://fightcolorectalcancer.org/
11. Present and Future Directions in Research. (2013). Michael’s Mission. http://www.michaelsmission.org/
12. Stop Colon Cancer Now. (2014). http://stopcoloncancernow.com/
13. What you need to know about your colon. (2013). Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation. http://www.coloncancerchallenge.org/

Werner Muehlemann – Survivor and Advocate for Change!

Werner Muehlemann

“At 28 years-old, I went to see my doctor about a problem I was having. He told me that I had nothing to worry about because I was young and in good shape. Following a few tests, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. In that moment, I saw my life flash before my eyes – my career and dreams of getting married and starting a family vanishing.

The CCAC helped me acquire all the information that I needed to understand my treatments to follow in the months ahead and ultimately beat colorectal cancer. The CCAC also helped my family get the information they needed to support me in my long journey. Today, nine years later, I have three children with the same woman and I survived this cancer. And for the first a few years ago, I was able to complete my marathon.

Werner now serves on the Board of Directors at the CCAC and advocates on behalf of   all the work that we do in order to beat this terrible disease.

Werner now serves on the Board of Directors at the CCAC and advocates on behalf of all the work that we do in order to beat this terrible disease.

My dream for the future is that colorectal cancer screening becomes as routine as going to the dentist.”

In the spirit of Young Survivors Week, the CCAC has compiled a series of survivor stories to offer hope, instill courage and inspire change. We continue to share new stories every day. If you would like to share yours, please send it to isabellan@colorectal-cancer.ca.

RECENT STUDIES SHOW COLORECTAL CANCER DOES NOT AGE DISCRIMINATE. YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO BE AWARE & PREPARED

RECENT STUDIES SHOW COLORECTAL CANCER DOES NOT AGE DISCRIMINATE. YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO BE AWARE & PREPARED

butt pic Reports from across Canada show doctors are observing a new trend in colorectal cancer that cannot be ignored nor explained – a “rapid increase” in the number of patients being diagnosed under age 50.
A new study, led by doctors from the University of Toronto, looked at Canadian Cancer Registry data from 1997 to 2010 and found that incidences of colorectal cancer rose by:

• 0.8 per cent per year for people in their 40s,
• 2.4 per cent per year for people in their 30s, and
• 6.7 per cent per year for those between ages 15 and 29.

Thankfully awareness campaigns and advocacy to increase the accessibility of colorectal cancer screening has been responsible for declining rates in people over 50 in the last few years. However, these new reports are a reminder that there is still so much more work to be done.

This year, the CCAC was proud to join forces with the Never Too Young Coalition (N2Y), a branch of Colon Cancer Alliance. Their mandate, like ours, is to raise awareness about the disease, preventative screening and to provide much needed information to the younger Canadian population about the signs and symptoms of the disease, particularly how to avoid a misdiagnosis, which according to studies is occurring more frequently due to the age shift.

Although it is evident that more research is needed to determine the cause of this age shift, we are encouraging doctors and patients to become more vigilant and conscience as the signs and symptoms of colon cancer can often be mistaken for other, less serious issues. The longer it takes for a diagnosis the harder it is treat, which is key in survival.

Risk factors for colon cancer

The fact that incidence is rising only among younger people suggests “lifestyle” factors are at play, but the evidence of this is not concrete. Pay attention to your body and if you have any of these risk factors, talk to your doctor – take charge of your health!

• Family history of colon cancer or polyps: First and second degree relatives of a person with a history of colon cancer and polyps are more likely to develop this disease, especially if the relative had the cancer at a young age
• Genetic Alterations: Changes in certain genes increase your risk of colon cancer. Those with syndromes like hereditary nonployposis colon cancer (HNPCC or Lynch Syndrome) or Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) should be screened earlier than 50
• Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease
• African Americans should be screened starting at age 45, or sooner if you have other risk factors or symptoms
• Lifestyle factors, like eating processed and red meats, a lack of dietary fibre, a lack of physical exercise, obesity, alcohol, smoking, diabetes and genetics

June 5-11 will mark the second annual “Young Survivors Week,” connecting with patients, survivors, and caregivers to create buzz around young onset colon cancer. Join us and N2Y as we spread the word via social media by sharing stories and information to help others understand that IT can happen to anyone.