Colorectal cancer survivor: Explore your family’s cancer history

As a funeral home owner and operator in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the Rev. Lawrence Meadows knows what it means when doctors start talking about hospice. “That implies you only have about 14 days to live,” he says. “And the next thing you know, you’re getting a sponge of water rubbed across your lips and maybe some ice chips.” That prognosis was unacceptable to Lawrence, who was only 39 last October when he was diagnosed at a local hospital with stage IV colorectal cancer. So, he came to MD Anderson for a second opinion. “When you go buy a car, you’re going to look at as many options as possible to find the best one,” he says. “And if you’d do that for a car, or a house, or even insurance, why wouldn’t you do that for your health?” Weight loss leads to colorectal cancer diagnosis The first sign of trouble was when Lawrence began dropping weight last fall without trying. “I lost between 18 and 25 pounds in about four weeks,” he says. “None of my clothes fit me anymore, and they’re all tailor-made.” He was also experiencing constipation and could only eat a small amount of food before feeling full. The laxative Lawrence’s doctor prescribed didn’t help. So, in October 2016, Lawrence saw a specialist, who ordered a CT scan. It revealed a mass the size of a baseball in his colon. Two days later, Lawrence had surgery to remove it. “I was a bit surprised,” Lawrence recalls. “I’m not a drinker or a smoker. And I eat my vegetables.” Seeking help for colorectal cancer at MD Anderson...