Evan White, throughout college, could occasionally see some blood in his stool. This happened sporadically so they thought very little about it. Two years after graduating, he met his physician, concentrating his energy. The diagnosis shocked him.
“How do I get colon cancer at 24? The only thing you’ve ever heard of is that it is common among older people, “White, now 27, of Dallas, remembered today.” I was thinking, ‘This is a dream, isn’t it? The it’s not real. ”
Thanks to surgery and treatment, White was cancer-free for a year. But in February 2019, scans showed that his cancer had returned – and this time it was stage 4. White shared his story to encourage others to see a doctor if something seems wrong.
“Being able to speak up and talk with your doctor can help catch this stuff before it goes on and gets very bad,” he said.
Ignored a serious symptom
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in the US and is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in American men and women combined. More adults in their 20s and 30s are being diagnosed, a recent study found. While experts are unsure as to which cases lead to an increase, they want young adults to be aware of the symptoms of colorectal cancer:
- rectal bleeding
- iron deficiency anemia
- stomach ache
- Narrow stool
- Urge for an unproductive bowel movement
- Unexplained weight loss
White noticed that he sometimes experienced bloody feces throughout college, but he did not worry too much.
“I was basically invincible. I have never been to the doctor. For me, let something go and resolve on my own, I didn’t think much about it, “he said. “I never thought I needed to tell anyone about this.”
After college, he noticed that exercise soon seemed challenging.
“I had always been in good physical shape,” White said. “I could play pick-up basketball with my friends, maybe for one or two plays, and then I would be gasping in the air. I could barely even run. “
He wondered if she was just out of shape, but thought he might have developed asthma. He then contracted what he felt was strangled and he was caring in the emergency room when doctors noticed an unusual bloodshed.
“They felt my blood count was off and they even gave me a stool sample,” he said. “Even with immense fatigue I might not have put two and two together that it was related to the blood in my stool. I don’t know if I would ever have brought it with my doctor.
There is no evidence of disease with White underage surgery and six months of chemotherapy. Soon after his apparent diagnosis, he asked about 50 people to join him for a bar crawl and he sold a T-shirt to raise money for colorectal cancer. After the success of the first crawl, he started making a second plan, the previous year he expected more than $ 500.
“I’m always going to do what I can to fight this disease,” he said. He said, “After the second week, I announced that I found out that my cancer had returned. It was one of those stories you can’t even make. The time was crazy. “
Stage 4 cancer, COVID-19 and a happy future
The scan revealed that White had cancer in his lungs. While the bar crawl raised $ 20,000, the cancer resurgence meant that White faced uncertain chemotherapy treatments to prevent the cancer from spreading further. In November 2019, he underwent surgery to remove some cancer but three months later, doctors noticed that it had increased again.
“They were definitely worried about how quickly it showed. But everything has been stable since I came on chemo, ”he said. “This has been a positive sign.”
In early July, White suffered another setback as he was diagnosed with COVID-19. While he was getting as much as possible, he was still testing positive with his parents and his girlfriend Katie Briggs.
“It was mild, but it delayed some of my scans,” he said.
Although the after-college life was not what he expected, White remains positive. He recently asked Briggs – the one he met two days before starting chemotherapy – to marry her and he said yes.
“Just because I have cancer doesn’t mean I can’t do big things or live my life,” he said. “I don’t know where I would be if I … I didn’t have anyone to help me get through the stuff.”
It is a struggle at times, but White now appreciates the small things in life.
“Without a doubt, it’s been a roller coaster,” he said. “When it comes to cancer, it gives you a new outlook on life, especially when they tell you that it has spread to your lungs. I am just focused on enjoying all the time with the people around me and living each day. Something that I had never done before. “