barry My name is Barry Stein and this is my cancer survivor story. I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic colon cancer in 1995. Few of us cancer survivors can forget how we felt when we were first diagnosed with cancer. I remember how I felt as if it was yesterday. I was flattened by the news. I experienced a rush of emotions and suddenly began to panic. I broke out into a sweat. I felt bombarded by information, dished out faster than I could absorb it.

I felt anger, and I felt sorry for myself. I wondered why this was happening to me, and if I would ever see my young family grow up. I tried to digest the fact that my life was suddenly threatened by a disease that came upon me silently, without any symptoms. The doctors must have it wrong, I thought. I feel absolutely normal. Surely they’ve made a mistake.

I knew very little, if anything, about cancer, but I had some preconceptions – I associated the word cancer with death. Still, when my doctor told me that the cancer had spread from my colon to my liver and that I had a thirty percent chance of surviving five years, I could not accept it. I knew I had to fight. I wanted to do everything possible to improve my situation, but I had no experience and I understood very little of the information given to me. I was determined to do as much research as I could so that I would be able to make informed decisions about my treatment. If I was more aware of the disease and had been screened for colon cancer in time, I could have avoided years of treatment and surgery and lots of pain and suffering for myself and for my family. Fortunately, things turned out just fine after a lot of hard work and some pretty scary moments and the bonus is we have seen all our three wonderful children married to great spouses and we now have two beautiful grandchildren!

IMG_8522

My determination proved to be a very important first step in my cancer journey. Whatever emotion you may feel after a diagnosis of cancer, chances are that you will eventually face the reality of the situation and decide how you are going to fight. I now know that colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable. That’s why I have devoted my life since 1995 to making others aware of the disease, supporting patients and their families and working hard across Canada both for the implementation of screening programs, as well as equal and timely access to effective treatments to improve patient outcomes. I am the president of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, and we are here to spread awareness about the important of getting screened for colorectal cancer.

It doesn’t have to been a death sentence. We can make a difference together. Support us to support you!