BATAVIA, N.Y. - Amy Davis ignored her symptoms for two years in the hopes they would go away.
She lost her job and her health insurance, and she couldn't afford a colonoscopy.
She thought she had no options until her daughter sent her a text message. It was a picture of an advertisement in the local Pennysaver. The ad was for the Cancer Services Program.
The statewide initiative aims to lessen the cancer burden in New York State through education, early detection and free screenings for the uninsured or under-insured. It is available in all counties, and the program helps people after their diagnosis, including how to pay for treatment.
Davis received a free colonoscopy and was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. She went to Roswell Park Cancer Institute for chemotherapy and radiation. One year ago she had surgery, and today Davis is cancer-free.
While reluctant at first to share her story on TV, Davis eventually changed her mind to spread the message of early detection and to tell people about the free program she previously didn't know existed.
A colonoscopy is considered the gold-star of early detection, but there are other ways to test for the disease. You should start getting screened at age 50 or earlier if you have a family history. Colon cancer is sometimes referred to as the "silent killer" because some people don't experience symptoms until a late stage. Colon cancer is one of the most highly treatable cancers if caught early.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness month.