Meet Kelly Hedrick
Barboursville, West Virginia
Tell us about your journey with colorectal cancer.
I had a screening colonoscopy April 11th, 2022, when I turned 45. I advocated for it at that age, not because I was having any issues, but my grandmother had advanced colon cancer in her late 40s. The colorectal cancer guidelines for screening colonoscopy were starting at age 50, but if you had a 2nd degree relative you could be screened earlier at age 45 (the guidelines, thankfully, also were recently lowered to age 45). In recovery after the procedure, the GI doctor told me I had a large mass in my sigmoid colon. I had labs drawn right then, CT chest and abdomen/pelvis ordered, and I had an appointment with a surgeon the following week. I was in shock, to say the least. I had surgery to remove the mass, part of my colon, and a lot of lymph nodes (protocol to check/test for metastasis) on May 19th, 2022. I met with Dr. Jennifer Dotson, Oncologist, who told me pathology showed stage 1 colon cancer in the sigmoid colon, no chemotherapy or radiation needed, but they would continue to follow with labs, repeat imaging, and appointments about every three months for now.
Can you describe your experience with staff at Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center?
The staff at ECCC have been wonderful. Dr. Dotson specifically always spends as much time as needed to answer questions and explain things. Her thoroughness and diligence to follow up on everything, such as imaging and labs, have been outstanding.
What do you wish more people realized about colon cancer?
Colon cancer can affect you way earlier than the recommended age for screening and you may not have symptoms, especially in earlier stages. It is important if you are younger than the age for screening to get checked out if you are having symptoms even more so if you have a family history. If you are 45 or older, please get screened, regardless of whether you have symptoms or not. It could literally save your life.
Is there anything else you’d want our audiences to know about you, your experience with cancer and/or the care you received at ECCC?
I feel I am blessed my colon cancer was only stage 1. It would have been easy to push it off since I wasn’t having symptoms, but I’m happy I was my own advocate, my doctors listened and ordered it, and that I was screened when I did. Had I not, things could have been way worse. As previously mentioned, the care at ECCC has been outstanding. I would highly recommend seeking care there, if you, your friends, or family would need it.