Sylvana Fiore

Clinical trials improve quality of life

Every day I am so thankful for the work the GI Cancer Institute do.  Where would I be without them?”

I was just 37 when I was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer. I remember being stunned when the doctor told me they had found a cancerous mass. Never in my wildest dreams did I suspect I had bowel cancer. I was caught up in my busy lifestyle, and so just ignored my occasional stomach spasms. I had no history of bowel cancer in my family, and it was only when I was doubled over in pain and admitted to Emergency that my bowel cancer was detected.

I was devastated. I’m a mother with three young boys aged 3, 4, and 6, and I couldn’t bear the possibility of not seeing them grow up. To this day I still haven’t been able to tell my children I have cancer.

I underwent emergency surgery, and I have just completed six months of chemotherapy. My treatment was proven effective, and I’m feeling positive about my future.

Bowel cancer, if caught early, is often easy to treat. But when it is picked up late, as in my case, it is much harder to beat.

I’m really thankful that through clinical trials research treatment options are continuing to improve patients’ quality of life.  I had chemotherapy for six months and there were days when I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed and felt like giving up. But thanks to the AGITG’s research, there were also days when I felt well enough to pack the children’s lunch or go grocery shopping.

People going through chemotherapy need to have a quality of life – you need to have days when you feel normal. It gives you hope.

Bowel cancer changes your life. It’s the little things that are so precious to me, like watching my children play in the park or tucking them into bed at night.