A survivor shares her story to bring attention to colorectal cancer

Mar 23, 2021

Healthcare worker Jody Breslin celebrates one year of being free of colorectal cancer
Credit Jody Breslin

Jody Breslin was like any ordinary parent until July 2019, when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Breslin says besides having some stomach pain she didn’t have any symptoms. She did a colorectal cancer home screening upon recommendation of her primary care doctor.

"I was devastated because I had put off my colonoscopy," says Breslin. “I was raising two active teenagers, I had a full-time job, it was just not something that I wanted to take out in order to do.”

Breslin’s cancer had reached stage three by the time it was discovered; she began treatment shortly afterwards at Lipson Cancer Institute.

Dr. Gregory Connolly, who is on the staff of the institute, says screenings save lives. He says there are many different screening tools to detect colon cancer in its early stages but the standard screening for colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy.

"Usually we start those at age 50," says Connolly. "There are some circumstances in patients with strong family history or certain hereditary conditions where screening recommendations are to start at an early age."

Connolly says that these types of cancers usually occur in people over the age of 50 but recently there has been an increase in the diagnosis in younger people.

The American Cancer Society recommends that colorectal cancer screenings start at age 45 for people who are at average risk and more often for people with a family history of the illness.

Breslin was diagnosed 55 and is now approaching one year of being cancer-free. She encourages people to take the time to care for themselves and uses every opportunity to tell her loved ones to get a colonoscopy.

“I’m sure people are sick of me saying but I’m always like ‘go get screened it’s important.’ Like really take care of yourself,” says Breslin.