Battling The Stigma Behind Colorectal Cancer
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. The disease is commonly thought to be one that only affects older people.
FARGO, N.D. – Sara DCamp was only 33 when she received her diagnosis.
“I had many of the red flags, there was rectal bleeding, there was bloating, there was stool blockage, pretty much all of the classic or known symptoms for colorectal cancer,” said Sara DCamp.
She was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal Cancer in 2016.
“I think anyone can say when they receive a cancer diagnosis, it’s devastating, even more shocking was that late stage diagnosis,” said DCamp.
The government recommends patients get annual screenings starting at the age of 50.
Some doctors, and the American Cancer Society disagree.
“Waiting until the age of 50 to do these screenings, you’ve already got a patient that may have an advanced stage of cancer,” said Dr. John Bassett, a Gastroenterologist with Sanford Health.
Despite the diagnosis, Sara never gave up hope, and her treatment had sent the disease into remission.
“I did have about a year where I had no evidence of the disease that they could see on the scans,” said DCamp, “After my initial treatment until the summer of 2017, I felt like ‘Wow, okay, we got over this, now let’s get back to life.'”
But then a routine scan in 2018 found signs the cancer had returned.
“I realized at that point that this journey wasn’t done, and I had more to speak about. It really pushed me to say ‘Even though I’m going through all of these struggles, even though it is a terminal illness, there is still hope for myself, there is still hope that other’s don’t get this disease, and there is still hope for people that are going through it,'” said Sara DCamp.
Sara and her husband, Jarod, decided to form Love Your Buns, an organization that helps educate the public on colorectal cancer, and provides a community for patients dealing with the disease.
“Having someone like myself, or a caregiver like my husband, kind of be that community that says ‘No, we’re still with you, we still hear you, we want to provide whatever support we can,’ said DCamp, “and really we want to see them surrounded by love and kindness so they don’t have to be on their own through all of this.”
Nearly 50,000 people are killed by colorectal cancer every year, and Love Your Buns is hoping to do something about it, especially for younger people in our community.
“The important thing is getting the word out that this is a disease that doesn’t just happen in older adults,” said DCamp.
Love Your Buns is hosting a baking competition, The Battle of the Buns, on March 28th, to raise money for colon cancer awareness.
You can register for the event at the Love Your Buns website.