JERSEY CITY, NJ — It’s the public service announcement Jennifer Waller thought she’d never have to make.
At just 32-years-old the New Jersey mother of two was diagnosed with an aggressive form of colon cancer.
“I had lost about 12 pounds in six months which when you don’t weigh a lot to begin with, is a lot of weight,” Waller told PIX11 News.
Accompanied with abdominal pains and periodic bleeding, a trip to the doctor uncovered the worst case scenario.
“For a couple of days, I think you are numb because it doesn’t feel real,” she said. “This can’t be your life and then eventually it sets in.”
Waller who works as a nurse, immediately started treatment and took her fight to Facebook in a now-viral video where she gets candid about her experience, raising awareness in the process.
“I just knew I had to let other people know because by sharing your story you’re not the victim,” Waller said. “You’re essentially a survivor and your shedding light on a topic that can hopefully help other people.”
What started out as tumultuous month, ends with the New Jersey mom getting the notice from doctors that she is cancer free. Waller’s diagnosis is part of a growing trend where young adults in their 30s and even 20s are being diagnosed with colon cancer.
“The notion that colon cancer only affects those above the age of 50 is something which kinda needs to change,” Dr. Jeevan Vinod, a Gastroenterologist at CarePoint Health Christ Hospital in Jersey City who diagnosed Waller, told PIX11 News.
According to Dr. Vinod, age is no longer a factor when it comes to colon cancer screenings.
“Timing is critical in these types of situations,” he said. “The longer you wait, potentially the more advanced the disease will become.”
In Waller’s case, her swift response to getting a colonoscopy where some would’ve waited, resulted in a cancer free outcome.
“If I had waited another year or two I could’ve been in a totally different situation,” she said. “So being aware of your body and making sure you get checked is the message.”