Stage II Colon Cancer
Age at Diagnosis: 36

Although her aunt and uncle had colon cancer and her father had a polyp removed, it never occurred to Maria Carosella that she could have colon cancer – and certainly not at such a young age. Maria ignored the bleeding and changes in her bowel habits for over a year, thinking it was pregnancy-related hemorrhoids. When she finally got a colonoscopy, Maria was told that she had stage II colon cancer. Fifteen months later, the cancer was in her lung.

Maria’s biggest worries were not the surgeries that removed parts of her colon and lung, or the two rounds of toxic chemotherapy. Like most mothers, her fear was that she would be unable to care for her young children – or worse, that she would die while they were too young to know or remember her.

Those fears have not come true. Maria has been cancer-free for two years and takes time every day to relax and enjoy her husband and four-year-old twins.

Maria, now 39, wants people to know that if you have a family history, you are at greater risk of getting colorectal cancer. In addition, Maria is passionate about fertility issues and found support during the conception of her twins at