New cases of colorectal cancer are occurring at an increasing rate among young and middle-aged adults throughout the U.S. It’s estimated that this year, one in five colorectal cancer patients will be between 20 and 54 years old. Recently, our own Dr. Michael Meshad was featured in a WKRG News story about a local 28-year-old patient fighting colon cancer.
MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — WKRG News 5’s Caroline Carithers’ sister, Emily King, who lives here along the Gulf Coast, has been fighting colon cancer for about a year and a half. She is 28 years old.
In April 2019, Emily found blood in her stool. 24 hours later, she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. She then had surgery to remove the cancer. The surgery caused a bowel obstruction, so Emily had to have an ileostomy bag for eight months while undergoing twelve rounds of chemotherapy.
After 12 rounds of chemotherapy, Emily said, “I did a routine PET scan. I was three months with no evidence of disease. My PET scan came back with a little bit of cancer still inside my body.”
So Emily had surgery again to remove more cancer. She then had another PET scan before starting another cycle of chemo. The scan showed the cancer had spread to her lungs. She then transitioned from being a stage 3 colon cancer patient to being a stage 4 colon cancer patient.
Emily’s doctor, Dr. Michael Meshad with the Southern Cancer Center, said they have seen more and more young people get diagnosed with colon cancer and they are not sure why.
“It is almost an epidemic of young people,” Meshad said. “It is quite frightening. In fact, it has been such a problem, that they set up a young person’s colon cancer clinic at the Dana Farber in Boston which is where we sent Emily.”
Emily has chosen to live her colon cancer journey publicly through blog posts her husband writes and shares on social media in hopes of raising awareness for young people with colon cancer. Her motto through this hard time is “fighting to win.”
Emily just got some great news. She had another PET scan halfway through her second chemo regiment and they found no evidence of cancer which means her new chemo is working.
Dr. Meshad says some of the warning signs for colon cancer include blood in your stool, change in bowel habits, and abdominal pain. Remember to listen to your body and get checked regularly.