Anorectal Cancer Patient Stories

  • Thomas Donnelly

    Thomas Donnelly

    Metastatic Rectal Cancer

    In the summer of 2010, Thomas Donnelly was thoroughly enjoying life. He was 38 years old, his career was thriving and he was about to start an M.B.A. program. Tom was also involved with charity and volunteer work. “I left teaching in 2005 to start a web development company. Although it was a great experience, in 2008 a friend who owned an HVAC business asked me to do account management and sales for him. It was a wonderful opportunity to work for a fantastic company.” Almost immediately chronic fatigue set in which Tom couldn’t explain. Assuming he was working too much, Tom ignored the weakness and fatigue for two years. Then, during a motorcycle trip to New York Tom experienced excruciating genital and rectal pain that he could not ignore. Tom’s doctor originally diagnosed him with hemorrhoids, but to be safe, he ordered a colonoscopy. “I didn’t drink or smoke. I was healthy and happy, but the pain was destroying the quality of my life,” he said. What Tom didn’t know was that he had cancer growing inside.

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  • Brooke Fuller

    Brooke Fuller

    Like many young women Brooke Fuller is a busy working mother and wife.  Brooke, who enjoys working as a floral designer, and her husband, Scott, are parents to one son, Pierce, who turned four in 2015. In January, 2014, at age 30, Brooke experienced unexplained weight loss and rectal bleeding. The last thing she attributed this to was cancer.

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  • Cynthia Herr

    Cynthia Herr

    Cyndie Herr is just like most suburban moms - she drives her three children to school activities, play practice, soccer, golf, birthday parties . . . the list goes on! She has a network of terrific friends with whom she carpools, as well as socializes. Like many moms these days, Cyndie is health-conscious and provides healthy, nutritious food choices for her family.

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  • Kathleen Marchek

    Kathleen Marchek

    One cancer diagnosis is bad enough. Two in the same month is really over the top. But that’s exactly what Kathleen Marchek faced in August 2009 at the age of 54. Kathleen, now a retired teacher, had a lumpectomy for stage one breast cancer the same week she had a colonoscopy and was diagnosed with stage three rectal cancer. “It was around the same time that Farrah Fawcett died from anal cancer. I was just beside myself. The doctor said I had to take care of this immediately.”

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  • Harvey Stuckley

    Harvey Stuckley

    A second opinion at Fox Chase Cancer Center didn't just save Harvey Stuckley's life in 1999. His consultation with surgical oncologist, John P. Hoffman, MD, FACS, preserved both his quality of life and his dignity, a gift he's thankful for to this day.

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