Brentwood resident, Steve Greene is a father of three, a board member for the national advocacy organization Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC), and a stage IV colorectal cancer (CRC) survivor who was diagnosed at age 43.
Since his diagnosis, Greene has not stopped raising awareness within the Nashville community as well as nationally alongside Fight CRC. As a patient with Early Age Onset Colorectal Cancer (EAO CRC), referring to colon or rectal cancer in patients under age 50. Greene is alarmed by recent data in a JAMA publication. The authors predict that “For the age group 20-49, colorectal cancer was estimated to become the leading cause of cancer-related deaths by 2030.” He will be participating in Fight Colorectal Cancer’s (Fight CRC) upcoming Rally on Research, a global event focusing on what needs to be done to further EAO CRC research so other dads can avoid the same pain.
Greene’s story started in November of 2012 when he visited the doctor after noticing some unusual symptoms. He was not worried about these symptoms right away because he had always been healthy and active. Greene’s doctors recommended a colonoscopy, which revealed he had stage IV CRC. Greene and his family were shocked by this diagnosis, which came just three years after his father passed away from prostate cancer.
Greene was relentless in his fight and felt comfort in his medical team’s skills. He was also encouraged by the support of his family, neighbors, church community, and the Fight CRC advocate community. Greene finished his last chemotherapy treatment in January 2014. Although the possibility of recurrence is always in the back of his mind, he stays hopeful in his survivorship journey.
“It was a shock to hear the doctor tell me I had cancer when I was 43 years old,” said Greene. “Today it’s a true blessing to be able to share my story and be involved with a great organization like Fight CRC to raise awareness. CRC is preventable in so many cases if we know our family history, pay attention to symptoms, and get screened. 45 is the new 50. Don’t wait to get screened!”
While approximately 90% of colorectal cancer cases occur in people over the age of 50, since the mid-1990s, the number of new cases of colorectal cancer (CRC) in those under age 50 increased by around 51%; there have been incremental increases of 2% per year in patients younger than age 55.
In fact, it’s such an alarming problem, the national task force that determines when patients should be screened recently updated its guidelines to say patients without any symptoms should begin screening at age 45, not 50.
“This is a global problem and the numbers are growing,” said Andrea (Andi) Dwyer of the University of Colorado Cancer Center and advisor to Fight CRC Research and Patient Education. “To continue the research, international collaborations are key to understanding this disease.”
Fight CRC, the nation’s leading patient-empowerment and advocacy organization is committed to amplifying the patient voice and pushing for more research to understand this phenomenon. The upcoming Rally on Research on June 24-25 will continue building a global research network and agenda to address EAO CRC with the support of researchers, clinicians, patient advocates, and other advocacy group leaders from the U.S., UK, Ireland, Europe, Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy, and Serbia.
The virtual event is free to attend but registration is required. Register at FightCRC.org/EAOCRC.