I am a veteran and a Norwood firefighter, and before my cancer diagnosis at age 50, I felt unstoppable. I was still young, doing Crossfit regularly and staying healthy. When DetecTogether came to my firehouse to teach 3 Steps Detect, I paid close attention and it made great sense, but at the time, I wasn’t having any health issues so I put it in the back of my mind.
However, a few months after the class, when I started having abdominal discomfort and going to the bathroom often, I remembered the class and knew what to do. DetecTogether taught me the importance of listening to your body and using the two-week rule. When the symptoms lasted more than two weeks, I was on the phone with my doctor.
Since I was coming up on my annual physical exam, my doctor had me hold on coming in until then. Meanwhile, the symptoms worsened, and my abdomen started feeling very tender. I was sure to talk with my doctor about it at my appointment and advocated for myself. He scheduled a colonoscopy.
The colonoscopy revealed that I had Stage 2B colon cancer. While this news was certainly tough, it would have been much worse if I had waited. 3 Steps Detect is a plan to help people recognize potential cancer symptoms and motivate them to take action. It saved my life.
With surgery now behind me, I have dedicated my recovery time to helping other firefighters learn 3 Steps Detect. I am an active volunteer for DetecTogether and have encouraged the older guys in my firehouse to get colonoscopies. Most of them have done so. I remind them of the lessons we learned from DetecTogether and how important it is to put that education into action if something is off.
- abdominal discomfort
- frequent trips to the bathroom
FREE Online Learning for Firefighters
The platform includes our 3 Steps Detect training along with 10 short lessons covering topics such as compiling your medical history, identifying and tracking symptoms, and how to prepare for doctor appointments. Firefighters can access the platform by clicking the link below.