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22:04 PM

10TV: Nurse Shares Why She Pushed for Additional Colorectal Screening

In late 2021, Jenna Everett noticed that she had intermittent abdominal discomfort, pain and bloating.  She visited her primary care provider and was given medication, but still felt pain.  She was also told to avoid spicy and greasy foods, thinking food was the trigger.

After all, at 36-years-old, Jenna couldn't have colon cancer, right? She was still  nine years away from even needing a screening colonoscopy, based on National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines.  But as the issues persisted and new ones - like blood in her stool - arose, Jenna, a clinical nurse manager at OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, knew she needed more testing.  A CT scan showed nothing.  But based on her symptoms, she saw a gastroenterologist and had a colonoscopy.  It was through that test that a five centimeter mass was found, as well as two enlarged lymph nodes.  Jenna was diagnosed with Stage 3 Grade 3 colorectal cancer, a fast moving form of the disease.  

“It definitely makes you appreciate the small things in life and the time that you have with your kids, because it very well could have been missed and I could have had a different outcome and it's scary but it's also a blessing,” Jenna, a wife and mother of three, told 10TV reporter Lindsey Mills. 

According to the American Cancer Society, by 2030, colorectal cancer will be the leading cause of cancer deaths in patients ages 20 to 49. 

"Colorectal cancer is increasing in younger people,” said William Wise, MD,  a colorectal surgeon with OhioHealth in an interview with 10TV.  “I think that is screening is the most important thing. Colorectal cancer is really one of the only, if not the only, totally preventable cancer with screening tests."

“Had I not stepped up and said 'hey I want some answers' I would not have made it to that health maintenance milestone of 45 years of when you need a colonoscopy,” Jenna told 10TV. “So I might not have been here.”

Jenna began treatment of radiation and an oral chemotherapy pill on March 1 - the start of Colon Cancer Awareness Month.  She is jumping in and raising awareness for screening, including putting together a team of family and friends to each walk 40-miles the month of March to benefit the American Cancer Society. 

To view the full story from 10TV, click here.

To learn more about colorectal cancer care and screenings, click here.