F is for Cancer…. as in .. FUUUUUK, it’s cancer.

I saw my colleague’s patient the other day as I was covering her practice for a few days. It’s haunted me ever since. She was diagnosed with a bladder infection last week and I got the culture report back just before the weekend. I had to change her antibiotics. I spoke to the patient on the phone and told her if she still wasn’t better after the weekend to come to see me.

Well she did. While the bladder symptoms appeared to be improving she also mentioned how light-headed and dizzy she was and “oh yeah, by the way, I’ve lost about 10 lbs in the past month.”


I looked through her chart at her recent blood tests. Hemoglobin was normal but compared to 2 years ago, there’s been a 20+ point drop.


Upon further review of her chart, I noted a family history of colon cancer in her mother and stomach cancer in her father. Both deceased.


Oh and she repeatedly refused to be screened with colonoscopy or fecal occult blood testing.


You get the drift.

She’s got cancer and it could have been caught early with a simple screening test.

5 thoughts on “F is for Cancer…. as in .. FUUUUUK, it’s cancer.

  1. Ugh. Horrible! I’m sorry you had to deal with the discovery of this while your colleague was away. Did you send her for any tests? Most importantly (and not to insinuate that your colleague did a bad job), but why would anyone with that family history refuse screening???

    • One word. Denial.

      My colleague repeatedly offered her screening and she repeatedly declined.

      I did send her for the standard work up but she ended up in hospital a few days ago because of ongoing weakness.

  2. You can only do your best. We can’t judge others for the way that they want to live and manage their health, but we need to remind them that all their choices have consequences. Unfortunately with her choices, they led to something awful.

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