Bradley Kinkead was 38 when he first noticed the colon cancer symptoms he brushed off as hemorrhoids. Luckily, his wife encouraged him to visit a doctor, who diagnosed him with Stage III colon cancer after a colonoscopy. Now, Bradley is returning the favor his wife gave him by spreading the word about getting screened. Read his story and find out what he wants you to know this Colon Cancer Awareness Month.
Tell us a little about yourself!
I am a fun loving guy who cherishes his sense of humor. I like being able to put a smile on the faces of the people I come across. I love to read and watch movies; I place myself in them as the main character and use it as a way to escape reality—even if it is just for a little while.
How were you diagnosed with colorectal cancer?
I had blood in my stool when I was 38 and I pushed it off as hemorrhoids or something other than cancer. However, my wife found out and made me see a doctor immediately. Things took off from there. My initial visit was the end of May and I woke up on June 11 from my colonoscopy to my wife crying. She looked at me and I said, "it's cancer isn't it?” She said yes and I was out again.
They found a softball-sized tumor in my rectum and 20 polyps in my colon. (The doctor stopped counting at 20, according to the official report.) All the polyps were cancerous. On July 25, I had two-thirds of my rectum and a complete colectomy. The cancers were unrelated and after gene testing, I discovered I have Lynch syndrome and another mutated cancer-causing gene.
This March, what is one thing you want the world to know about colorectal cancer?
Get tested. It isn't that bad and it could save your life. If you already have cancer, join the Colon Cancer Alliance online chats. You will learn a lot and hopefully, learn to laugh again if you forgot how. We have tons of fun on the chats and it makes my day to get to talk to my Cancer Family.
What advice would you give someone who's just been diagnosed?
Find someone to go to appointments with you. Keep a notebook handy to write down any questions and have your loved one write down the information you receive during your visits. Trust me, a lot of the times you will hear something differently or the doctor will sound like Charlie Brown's teacher. Having your questions prepared will help you get everything answered.
Also, don’t look at statistics because each case is different. There was only a 35 percent chance I would be here right now. Lastly, tell your doctors if you have an odd feeling or side effect. They are there for you.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Laugh, love, cry and live life.
Learn more about Colon Cancer Awareness Month at coloncancermonth.org! Don’t forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information about colon health. If you have additional questions about colon cancer screening or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030. We’re here to help.