Lisa Leopold: Beating cancer, encouraging others to get screened

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 5:10 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Colon Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.

Bryan ISD elementary school teacher, Lisa Leopold, knows this first hand, after being diagnosed in December 2021. Leopold says she went in for a colonoscopy when she turned 50, because that’s the standard routine, right? Turn 50, get a colonoscopy. Now, Dr. David Case says the recommended age is 45.

“First the American Cancer Society recommended we switch to 45, and then more recently, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force also changed the recommendation to 45,” Case explained.

Case says he agrees with the change because even though colon cancer rates have gone down with screenings, the incidents of colon cancer at a younger age is going up.

“We’re not exactly sure why that is, but it just makes sense to start a little bit earlier at age 45,” Case said.

Leopold said her doctors told her that her diagnosis might been preventable if they had caught it sooner.

“When he gave me the news, he said this has been in there 5 to 7 years,” Leopold said.

Six weeks ago, Leopold had a lower anterior resection (LAR) to remove the cancer.

“They found no residual cancer,” Leopold said.

Now, she is encouraging her friends and family members to schedule their colonoscopies.

“Do it,” she said, “Don’t make excuses.”

Dr. Case says colonoscopies are essential in early detection.

“There are other ways to screen for colon cancer, but they have limitations. Colonoscopy is really regarded as the gold standard,” said Case.

Leopold’s advice to those who do get that “worst case scenario” news is this: “Trust that the doctors know what they’re doing, rely on your support system, cry when you need to cry, and enjoy life whenever you can.”

Leopold will go back to her doctor for a check-up one year from now, but until then, she’s enjoying life with her husband and daughters.

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