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Patient Care Faculty Colorectal Cancer

Young Colon Cancer Patient Finds Hope at CU Cancer Center

Author Taylor Abarca | Publish Date March 2, 2015

With long blonde hair, a fit physique, and an overwhelmingly positive attitude, Katy Davenport hardly looks like someone who is enduring cancer. Yet at 34 years old Katy went in for a precautionary colonoscopy after noticing some blood in her stool. Her doctor was shocked to discover a tumor.

“When we went in we honestly thought it would be nothing,” Katy says. “It was truly a shock for both me and my husband to find out that I had a tumor, especially because there is no history of colon cancer in my family.”

A biopsy confirmed that the tumor was malignant and on New Year’s Eve Katy was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. After talking to some friends she quickly turned to the University of Colorado Cancer Center for a second opinion. Christopher Lieu, MD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and assistant professor of medical oncology at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine, became her oncologist.

“The hardest part was waiting,” she says. “It took about a week for the scans to get to Dr. Lieu and once he confirmed the stage three diagnosis we immediately scheduled a surgery.”

On January 20, 2015 Katy had surgery to remove the tissue. Jon Vogel, MD, was the lead surgeon on the team.

“Dr. Vogel was amazing,” Katy says. “He answered all the questions I had, really listened to me, and made me feel like an actual person.”

The surgery was a success however the removal of the tumor is only the start of Katy’s cancer journey. On February 24 she will start chemotherapy and for the next six months she will have to come for treatment every two weeks.

“We find that young adult colon cancer tends to be much more aggressive than cancer in the older population,” says Lieu. “We are unsure of why this is but we’ll certainly be studying her tumor to see what we can learn to treat and prevent this cancer in the future!”

Despite the long months ahead Katy has found some positivity in her chemo treatments.

“I get to keep my hair!” she smiles. “I feel very blessed that my specific type of chemotherapy allows me to do that. It might not be a big deal but it allows me to keep some normality in my life.”

Although a cancer diagnosis is hard for anyone at any stage in life Katy finds it difficult to be dealing with a cancer typically diagnosed in the older population.

“In the waiting rooms the other patients are usually people twice my age,” she says. “We are in two very different stages of life and it can be hard to find people who are going through a situation similar to mine.”

However Katy has found support through her friends and family, which helps her maintain her positive attitude.

“If I could give advice to not only young cancer patients, but all patients, it would be to try and keep a good attitude and keep finding things to smile about,” she says. “Also be sure to take care of yourself and make sure you do what you need to do.”

Katy has also become a huge advocate for screening and early detection.

“Before all of this I had no idea that March was colon cancer awareness month, but now that I am here I am all for knowing your family history and getting screened,” she says. “If something seems off do not be afraid to go and see you doctor!”

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