NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A young New Jersey mother in her 30s has been diagnosed with colon cancer.
She couldn’t believe it, but now she wants everyone to hear her story, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Tuesday.
It came as a complete shock. Just two weeks ago the biggest problem the Clifton mother of two faced was getting her oldest child ready for another school year. Now, she has colon cancer.
“I have been angry. I have been sad. I have cried my eyes out for days,” Jennifer Waller said.
In an emotional video posted to her Facebook page, Waller explains what was going on in her mind after she was diagnosed.
“I thought about how I should be kinder, and how I should read another story and how I should say another ‘I love you,'” Waller said.
But she said she quickly realized that her diagnosis is not a death sentence. It’s a way to spread awareness.
“What other choice do we have? We choose who we are and I am choosing to be positive and help others,” Waller said.
Waller said a colonoscopy caught the malignant tumor. Since she’s being treated at Carepoint Health Christ Hospital in Jersey City, where she works, her insurance covered it. But in her video and in person, she is advising others to look into getting checked as well.
“I want to help other people so this doesn’t happen to them,” Waller said.
Dr. Jeevan Vinod is the one who found the tumor. He said no one should ignore symptoms, no matter your age.
“It’s an indisputable fact that we are seeing younger people come in with colon cancer,” Dr. Vinod said.
According to the American Cancer Society, there has been an increase in colon cancer by 1 to 2 percent per year in adults ages 20 to 39, something Waller said she wants everyone to remember.
“It can happen to anybody. There are risk factors, but you need to be aware of what’s going on with you and your body,” Waller said.
She is scheduled to undergo a colectomy next week and will learn more about her cancer, hoping for good news to spread like this awareness.
The American Cancer Society has lowered its colorectal cancer screening recommendations from 50 years old to 45.