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Wilma, Colon Cancer Survivor

St. Joseph Hospital Saved My Life

"God was on my side," said Wilma, a patient of Deborah Dennis, MD, a family medicine physician at SJ Family Medical Center-Nashua. When Wilma went to see Dr. Dennis due to stomach cramps she thought it would turn out to be nothing more than Diverticulitis. It took a bit of convincing, but with the support and knowledge of her physician, Wilma agreed to go see Dr. Richard Dai, Gastroenterologist, for a colon cancer screening test, called a colonoscopy.

Just before her exam, Wilma changed her diet and her cramping stopped, Dr. Dennis convinced her to proceed with the colonoscopy anyway. Though she was reluctant and fearful of the procedure, she carried on. During the colonoscopy, Dr. Dai discovered two large growths, one of which was cancerous. She was sent for more extensive surgery to remove the growths. The surgeons found that though the tumor was already quite large, the cancer had not yet spread to lymph nodes or surrounding tissues.

"Dr. Dai says I'm his walking miracle," Wilma said, "I didn't need any further treatment because they caught it early enough, thanks to Dr. Dennis insisting that I go in."

Now that Wilma has been cancer-free for many years she is a huge advocate of routine screening. She encourages everyone she knows to go in for a colonoscopy screening, saying, "If I can help one person, just one, it would be wonderful. More would be even better." She can't emphasize enough about the wonderful, supportive physicians and staff at St. Joseph Hospital, noting that she was treated with extreme kindness and had everything explained to her so clearly that she was put at ease during what could have been a very traumatic time of her life.

"The worst part is the prep, but other than that it's a piece of cake," Wilma said, "You just keep going back; keep on top of it and you beat it. If it weren't for my physicians, I wouldn't be here today."

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States but when detected early through regular screenings, it's 90% curable. The American Cancer Society recommends colon cancer screenings for anyone over the age of 50. Talk to your physician about your need to schedule a colon cancer screening test.