Melissa Parker was tired, losing weight, and anemic – but put it in the back of her mind when she became pregnant. When it persisted, she started looking for answers. By the time she was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer, Melissa, now 37, had been experiencing symptoms for almost two years.
Because Melissa’s aunt had colon cancer at 48, her surgeon suggested postponing surgery to do genetic testing. If Melissa had certain gene mutations, she would be at high risk for uterine cancer, and would also need a hysterectomy.
Melissa postponed surgery to go forward with testing, and was told that she had a very unusual genetic mutation. She decided to have a hysterectomy in addition to having about 80% of her colon removed. She followed surgery with chemotherapy and has now been cancer-free for over three years.
Melissa’s aunt and father were found to have the same gene mutation as Melissa, and she learned that she has even more family history than she knew – two great-aunts and her great-grandfather also had colon cancer.