- Lauren Ricottone was in her early 30’s and pregnant with her daughter when she was diagnosed with stage 3B colorectal cancer.
- She was pregnant with her second child when scans showed that cancer had spread to her lungs.
- Now 16 months in remission, Ricottone says that bleeding, even in a 30-year-old, should always be checked out.
Blood in the stool is one of the most common symptoms of colon cancer. So in 2015, when Lauren Ricottone noticed droplets of blood while using the restroom, her husband, Chris, urged her to schedule a colonoscopy.
The now 37-year-old eventually agreed to the procedure, and went through different preparation protocols, including a pregnancy test. Ricottone was told that she was pregnant and for her unborn child’s safety, she decided to postpone the test. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl in January 2016.
It was two weeks later that complications arose, bleeding from her rectum and vagina when she went to the bathroom. Aside from that, she could barely stand because she was dizzy and very weak. Initially, Ricottone assumed that they were signs of post-delivery complications or maybe hemorrhoids, but a colonoscopy revealed something much worse- stage 3B colorectal cancer. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America define stage 3B as colorectal cancer that has spread to nearby organs or tissues. Ricottone was shocked at the diagnosis, being so young and having no family history of colon cancer.
Road to Recovery
She underwent surgery to remove the tumor, followed by six months of chemo, ending in February 2017. It was soon after that she was admitted to the ER for a stomach virus, and told that she was pregnant again with a boy.
She decided to halt the CT scans she was having at that time to monitor her cancer during that time until her baby was born. A month after she gave birth to her son, results of scans showed that cancer had spread to her lungs.
Ricottone said her family and friends helped however they could with “around the clock care.” It’s been 16 months since she achieved remission after undergoing one more surgery and chemotherapy. Ricottone, who works as a nurse, says that bleeding should never be brushed off, even in a 30-year old. “It should still always be checked out with a colonoscopy.”
Colon cancer is usually diagnosed in people aged 50 or older, however, it’s been found that colorectal cancer may be occurring more among younger adults in the US. Because of this, the recommended age for colorectal cancer screening has been lowered from 50 to 45.
Source: Fox News