This past January, I received a diagnosis that would change my life forever. I learned I had Stage III colorectal cancer that would require surgery and several rounds of chemotherapy. Thankfully, I had an excellent team of doctors looking after me and now, almost a year later, I’m thrilled to say that my cancer is well on its way into remission.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t my first run-in with cancer. Twenty-five years ago, I tested positive for the BCRA-2 gene which means that I am at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. After years of routine screening mammograms and blood tests, I decided to get a preventative mastectomy.
While I may not have had the best luck when it comes to cancer, I feel fortunate to have had access to the latest in diagnostic screening. From mammograms to blood tests and ultrasounds to colonoscopies, I’ve had them all.
My experience has taught me how important it is to get tested and screened early or as soon as something seems amiss.
I’ve learned not to take this screening technology for granted. I am thankful my doctors caught my cancer before it was too late. Had it not been for my early colonoscopy, I may not be here to write these words. My experience has taught me how important it is to always be vigilant and stay one step ahead of cancer and make sure that doctors have the latest diagnostic and treatment tools at their disposal.
That’s why I’m excited to go to Washington, DC in December to share my story with lawmakers and advocate for policies to encourage medical innovation. One of the issues I’ll be advocating for will be the repeal of the medical device tax, so that funding for research and development is adequately protected.
All patients deserve access to the latest treatments and technologies and I’m looking forward to serving as an advocate for better care. If our efforts end up ensuring that even one more person gets the help they need, it will be more than worth it for me.