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Guest blog by Joe Bullock

When you ring the bell, is your journey really over?

Being declared “NED” is a tough package to unwrap. We’ve been granted a wonderful gift—our lives—but we worry about recurrence, fall victim to emotional trauma, and suffer the lingering effects of treatment.

I’ve seen new survivors—especially men—conquer colorectal cancer, ring the bell, and walk out of the hospital without giving another thought to their experience. I can hardly blame them. This disease is the worst experience of many people’s lives.

I hope, at the very least, survivors attend to their follow-up appointments. Recurrence is real. But I’d also ask that we do more than protect our own health.

We need to find our voices and speak to others about our journeys. Colorectal cancer is highly preventable, but too many people are unaware of the threat—or they downplay the severity of this disease.
A co-worker, who is due for a colonoscopy, and I were talking about my experience recently. With good intentions, he made it seem like defeating colorectal cancer was like battling a stomach bug. He wasn’t sure if screening was really necessary.

Really, he was just unaware of the true impact of colorectal cancer ... but not anymore.

As a survivor, I’ve struggled to find my voice after this experience. There were times when I didn’t know what to say and times when I didn’t want to say anything at all. That’s only human, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it.

But we should seek the strength to share our stories. Here are some tips, compiled by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, to help you get started.

In our mission to end colorectal cancer in our lifetime, your voice can’t wait. Your voice can save lives.

- Joe Bullock

Joe Bullock co-leads Man Up To Cancer, a community built to empower men—and the people who love them—to face cancer with an open heart and a warrior spirit. 

Get involved with National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Click here to find out how


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