“I was one hundred percent sure I had hemorrhoids,” recalls Stephane Strouk, an avid motorcyclist who decided to get a colonoscopy in 2016 to be sure. “I woke up, and the doctor said I had stage 3C colorectal cancer. I did 37 radiation treatments, five treatments per week. You meet wonderful people at radiation, and you see the advances in technology. They were pinpointing my tumor, and it worked. The tumor shrunk 40%, and my doctor was able to do the surgery, remove the tumor, and part of my colon. I was also doing chemotherapy in Santa Monica. It was difficult, but it was the coolest place on Earth. You go in and you’re facing the sea. You see the ocean and the palm trees and the blue sky. It feels like a five-star hotel. It was very relaxing and quiet. My whole team was the greatest, from the nurses to the doctors. They all become your friend in the end. They’re very human. They care.”
After a successful colorectal surgery, Stephane resumed life with an ostomy bag. He reveals, “The ostomy bag was the most difficult part for me. I’m on a motorcycle every day, no matter what. I have different motorcycles, and some of them I couldn’t ride because the bag would explode. I was back on my bike 10 days after my surgery. I went to radiation with my bike as much as I could. After seven or eight months, they removed the ostomy bag and reattached everything. It took maybe a year to adapt, but now everything is working. It’s wonderful. I live every day. I wake up in the morning, see the blue sky, ride by UCLA Health and thank my doctors. They made everything so easy.”
Learn more about colon cancer screening options and make an appointment at UCLA Health.