Herman Anderson: surviving means sharing the importance of screenings
For Herman Anderson, it’s all about getting people to get screened for cancer. When he was diagnosed with Stage 2 colorectal cancer in 2006, he had not been screened before. And he was 62. He knows better now.
“I went to see my primary care physician because I was having some discomfort,” he said. “Thank goodness, she required that I get a colonoscopy, and that’s how we found it.”
Since then, Herman has spent much of his time in various survivor networking groups sharing his story, but also with fundraising groups to increase access to screenings for those who may not be able to have them otherwise.
“Just a few months after my treatment ended, I joined a colon cancer survivor network. I initially wanted to just go to the meetings and sit and listen. Find comfort in other survivors’ journeys. But now I know I need to share my story and do all I can to make people aware of how cancer can be prevented, or at least beaten.”
Herman admits he may be driven to promote screenings because he feels lucky. Not only from catching the cancer in time after having not been screened when he should have, but also because he got hit with a second blow. When seeing a heart specialist to get ready for the surgery to treat his colorectal cancer, Herman learned that he had three blocked arteries.
“When you are told you have cancer, obviously, that’s already a blow, so I had to condition myself mentally to deal with it. But when they told me about the blockage, it made my situation seem impossible to deal with.”
Fortunately, three stents cleared Herman’s arteries enough to be ready for surgery. With that, and months of radiation and chemotherapy, Herman was on the road to recovery.
“Then I had to go on a diet,” he jokes. Herman says he’s thankful to be able to do that.
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