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Steve’s Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer Story

Steve S. Diagnosis: Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer Symptoms: blood in stool, changes in bowel habits, feeling gassy/bloatedTreatment: Surgery to remove tumor, Chemo: FOLFIRI, monoclonal antibody: panitumumab, liver transplant

Steve’s Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer Story

Interviewed by: Taylor Scheib
Edited by: Chris Sanchez

Steve shares his story of being diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer

Steve, a 51-year-old resident of Ontario, Canada, was diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer 3 years ago, and he shares his story with us.

Steve’s diagnosis frightened and angered him. He had been suffering the symptoms of colorectal cancer for years before diagnosis, but they were shrugged off as food sensitivities. When the tumor in his colon was finally discovered, it was so large that his doctors could not get the scope past it to perform the colonoscopy. Moreover, the doctors also found 23 metastatic tumors on his liver. He was told that based on stage 4 colon cancer survival rates, he would likely live for just 3 more years. (hint, that was 3 years ago)

Instead of succumbing to his initial anger and bitterness, Steve chose to fight. He decided that he didn’t want to be remembered as “the angry guy”—and the realization that if he didn’t fight, his cancer would take him away from his family, was all the motivation he needed to do so. He was also determined to model resiliency for his family, especially his sons.

Steve immediately underwent surgery to deal with his blocked bowel, and ended up having a foot of his colon removed along with the primary tumor. He then had to recover for a few weeks before he could start with Folfiri chemotherapy. He also took the antibody therapy medicine panitumumab along with the chemotherapy. Steve ended up taking 27 rounds of chemotherapy, with some breaks, over the succeeding 3 years.

Steve’s cancer journey was far from easy. For one, he had to endure significant side effects from the panitumumab, including unsightly bleeding rashes that covered almost his entire body. But he continued to fight so he could stay with his family. Moreover, he also discovered that he could “fight cancer in the streets” and help other cancer patients, too, and so he got involved with fundraising campaigns for his local hospital foundation and regional cancer center. He also started serving as a volunteer cancer coach at CCRAN, the Colorectal Cancer Resource and Action Network.

After 3 years of chemotherapy and a liver transplant, at his last checkup, Steve’s doctors were unable to find any evidence of his cancer.

Steve shares his story with us to grow awareness of the risks of cancer, especially colorectal cancer, and to encourage other cancer patients to remain positive and continue fighting, no matter how severe or hopeless their situations may seem.

  • Name: Steve S.
  • Diagnosis:
    • Colorectal cancer
  • Staging:
    • Stage 4
  • Initial Symptoms:
    • Bloody stool
    • Intermittent changes in bowel habits 
    • Feeling gassy and bloated
    • Random pains in abdomen
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery: removal of primary tumor
    • Chemotherapy: Folfiri (folinic acid, fluorouracil, irinotecan)
    • Antibody therapy: panitumumab
    • Liver transplant

This interview has been edited for clarity. This is not medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider for treatment decisions.

Thank you for sharing your story, Steve!

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