P6300319 Hello, I am a colorectal cancer patient with metastatic disease. I was diagnosed just over 4 years ago and had emergency surgery of the large bowel. Since that first surgery, I have had 5 more, plus countless chemotherapy sessions. I came across the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada’s CCRAN support group meetings that are held in Oakville, 100 km away from my home, 3 years ago. Since then I have attended on a regular basis.

I do believe that I have an important role to play in my treatment. I make sure I have a healthy life style and I rely on CCRAN to provide another dimension to my healing journey.

At our monthly meetings, the chair shares recent developments in advances in treatment from around the world. It is important to know that these are published scientific notes and include developments in drug therapy as well as other interventions. Guest speakers, usually researchers from teaching hospitals, are invited to share developments in their area of expertise and newer options for treatment. I am so pleased to see that some of our members have benefitted from these innovative procedures. It gives me great hope and I anticipate being able to consult with specialists with a unique outlook.

In addition to research presentations, the group shares coping strategies and updates on their treatments. We encourage each other with our shared experiences.

Besides the benefits of group support, I believe the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada has two important roles to play:

First in making more people aware of the need to early screening for colorectal cancer. Early intervention leads to better outcomes and usually a cure.

Secondly, I believe it helps us nudge the medical community into looking outside the box. Without patients pushing some boundaries, in a gentle and tactful way, I don’t believe we would see the same level of progress in development of new treatment options.

Keep up the valuable work!

Joanne Hulley