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My Colon Cancer Coach Blog

A Molecular Diagnostic Test That Made All the Difference

Dan C. is a guest blogger for My Colon Cancer Coach. Diagnosed at the age of 43, he is a 5 year colon cancer survivor. A policeman, husband, and father of four, Dan writes about his experience as a colon cancer patient and the path he followed to make decisions about diagnostic tests and treatment.

Getting the Diagnosis

Dan and WifeI was just 43 years old when I was diagnosed with Stage 2 colon cancer. As a husband, father of four kids, and a police officer, the word “cancer” was the last thing on my mind. I led a relatively healthy lifestyle, so when the results of my colonoscopy came back, I couldn’t believe I was talking to my doctor about a tumor in my colon. I didn’t know how to act – I was shocked. I was scared for my own future and the future of my family, and I wondered if and how my life would change. My cancer diagnosis scared me, and I knew I had to get as much information as possible about my cancer and treatment options.

Taking the First Step: Talking to Your Doctor

When you’re first diagnosed with cancer, you panic. You don’t know what to do and you fear the unknown, which is why it’s critical to take the time to learn about your individual diagnosis and make a treatment decision that’s right for you.

After my surgery, I talked to my doctor about my options and next steps. Because I had been diagnosed with stage II colon cancer and had not yet undergone chemotherapy, I was a suitable candidate for the Oncotype DX® colon cancer test. The test would tell me and my doctor the likelihood of recurrence, or whether or not my cancer would return.

My doctor felt this was the best option because it would provide us with more facts based on the unique biology of my tumor. With information specific to my own cancer, we’d have a better idea of whether or not additional treatment would be needed. It’s important to ask your doctor about diagnostic tests that can help with your treatment decisions.

Value of an Individualized Diagnosis

The process itself was actually quite simple. Following surgery to remove my tumor, a small piece of the tumor was sent to the Genomic Health lab for analysis. I was relieved when my doctor told me that the results showed that my cancer was not likely to return. This test score played a tremendous role in determining whether or not I’d benefit from chemotherapy post-surgery, and we ultimately decided not to move forward with chemo.

I’m grateful my doctor took the time to talk to me about my specific diagnosis and options for tackling this disease, including diagnostic tests. Oncotype DX provided information about my individual cancer diagnosis and helped me and my doctor develop a treatment plan that was right for me. I avoided the harsh side effects of chemotherapy, and my score gave me a piece of mind about my decision and my future.

Benefits of a Personalized Treatment Plan

Everyone’s cancer is different, and it’s so important for each patient to develop a treatment plan tailored to his or her individual needs. I am confident my doctor and I made the best decisions and plan based on specific information about my cancer. It’s allowed me to get back to my normal life and my family and children, and I look forward to maintaining a long, healthy life.

About the Author

Dan C.

Dan C.'s colon cancer surgery was a success and he has returned to his roles as a community member and dad. Learn more about Dan’s experience.