"As a colon cancer survivor, I urge everyone out there—
especially you men—to get screened early!"
Trevor Maxwell, Colorectal Cancer Patient
Trevor started his life in what he calls “cancerland” focused on his personal outcome. But after experiencing the emotional ups and downs the disease can cause, he’s now also helping others get support—especially men, who too often just want to look away.
“I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at age 41, four years before getting screened under current guidelines. I got fatigued just from hauling firewood, and at first thought it was aging, but a blood test and colonoscopy showed otherwise. It seemed out of the blue, but I learned from testing that I have a genetic predisposition called Lynch Syndrome—which I’m glad to know: I’ve alerted family members, and now they can get tested early.
“Once I was diagnosed, I was afraid I’d have to go outside Maine to find the right doctor. But Dr. Evans and his team have been fantastic, administering chemotherapy and immunotherapy here at New England Cancer Specialists, while coordinating my surgeries and now a clinical trial elsewhere. The nurses are my special heroes.
“I’ve struggled with cancer-related anxiety and depression, and connecting with others has been essential to my well-being. I’m lucky to have the daily support of my wonderful wife and daughters. But I found few men in the community of cancer patients providing mutual support. I quickly realized that men with cancer too often respond to their feelings of uncertainty and fear by withdrawing—whereas women respond by coming together.
“I’ve also learned that many of us men avoid getting screened because we don’t like colonoscopies, or just hope cancer will go away if we have it. That doesn’t work: the earlier they catch your cancer, the better your outcome will be.
“As a professional journalist, I’ve done a lot of reading about cancer and men, and learned that ‘checking out’ from their disease can ruin their relationships, compromise their mental health, and lower their odds of surviving cancer. So I started an organization and website to help men through this journey: ManUpToCancer.com.
“I may have no certainty about my outcome, but it has been the most rewarding thing in my life to connect with other men, help bring them together, and watch them come out the other side of cancer as healthier, happier husbands and fathers, brothers and men.
Trevor’s wife, Sarah, and their teenage daughters join him for one of their favorite family outings, picking apples.
Having cancer didn’t stop Trevor from participating in the 2020 virtual, Reimagined Dempsey Challenge.
Trevor produces a weekly podcast covering every aspect of preventing, screening, and dealing with colorectal and other cancers. Listen at ManUpToCancer.captivate.fm.
“I urge all you guys out there to get screened for colorectal cancer as soon as your doctor recommends. And if you have cancer, please know that you are not alone!"
Learn more about prevention and detection of colorectal cancer.
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