Early colon cancer screening saves lives
From Spotlight on Health - Winter 2010
“First heart surgery, then colon cancer — I couldn’t believe this all was happening to me,” said Linda Hamre, St. Cloud.
In February 2009, Hamre was preoccupied with heart issues. She was experiencing chest pain, headaches and pain in her right leg. Doctors found heart disease, performed quadruple bypass surgery and placed a stent in her leg. After all this, the last thing Hamre wanted was to deal with the blood that she had been noticing in her stool for close to a year.
“I couldn’t believe all this was happening at only age 49,” she said.
Linda enjoys spending time with her 2 ½ year old granddaughter, Anastasia.
“After undergoing extensive procedures to take care of my heart, I didn’t want to deal with one more health issue with more doctors, procedures and pain."
In March, Hamre noticed an ad in the paper for free drive-through colon cancer screening kits that could be done at home. The kits were offered by the Coborn Cancer Center in recognition of Colon Cancer Awareness month. She took advantage of the opportunity because it was free, private and painless.
The decision may have saved Hamre’s life. “I was one of those people who never would have gotten a colonoscopy,” she said. “The kit was the step in between — just what I needed.”
The screening raised a red flag. She immediately underwent a colonoscopy that detected a large cancerous polyp that took several surgeries to remove.
“The colonoscopy was a breeze,” Hamre said. “I can’t believe how easy and painless it was.”
Today, Hamre is back to full speed as a wife, grandmother and substitute teacher. She appreciates her health and her life. “The screening kit that detected my colon cancer early made the difference in my life,” she said. “Who knows when I would have gone in for a colonoscopy, it could have been too late for me. I hope everyone will take advantage of this opportunity and also have their colonoscopy done when it’s time.”