Montefiore in the News
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Montefiore in the News

March 8, 2021

Mar 08, 2021, 7:45am EST Updated on:Mar 08, 2021, 7:45am EST

Sheila Suarez welcomed her baby boy Evan into the world in September, but adjusting to motherhood took a serious turn three weeks later.

“I went into the emergency room, and I woke up three days later with a colostomy bag and a portion of my colon,” Suarez says.

Suarez’s colon ruptured into her abdomen, and she was then diagnosed with colon cancer.

She says her oncologists say she doesn’t currently have active cancer, but they are trying to prevent reoccurrence.

Dr. Sanjay Goel, of the Montefiore Health System, says people should not ignore the signs of disease like bleeding in the stool.

The American Cancer Society recommends men and women to get screened at age 45, but Dr. Goel says people can get colon cancer earlier.

“So colorectal cancer is known to occur in every race, every ethnicity and sadly now seems to be in every age group,” Dr. Goel says. “Clearly, it’s more than the older you get, the greater the risk.”

Suarez says her diagnosis was far from her plans, but she is fighting for her son.

“I have a little boy that I have to be strong for,” Suarez says. “I have every aspiration to see him grow up to be a man.”