‘I feel strong’: Maine colorectal cancer survivor shares story, encourages colonoscopy screenings

Trevor Maxwell of Cape Elizabeth has been living with stage IV colon cancer since 2018
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 4:30 PM EDT
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Maine (WABI) - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Excluding skin cancers, The American Cancer Society says colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S.

“By 2030, so within the next seven years, colorectal cancer will be the leading cancer killer for Americans under the age of 50,” said Cape Elizabeth native and founder of ‘Man Up to Cancer,’ Trevor Maxwell.

Like many others diagnosed with colorectal cancer across the country, Maxwell is concerned about the growing number of younger people being diagnosed with the disease.

He was diagnosed in March 2018 at the age of 41.

“I’ve had five major surgeries,” he said. “I’ve done 50+ rounds of chemo and immunotherapy and next week I go for my sixth abdominal surgery at Mass General Hospital. I still have active disease, but I feel good. I feel strong.”

Strong enough to be a voice for thousands of men and women living with colon cancer.

In 2020, he founded ‘Man Up to Cancer.’ They have 2,000 members from all over the U.S, Canada, and Europe.

“Our mission is all about supporting men because we know they don’t engage in supports as much as our women counterparts. We have a Facebook group; an annual retreat and we do a chemo backpack program. We’re all about direct guy to guy support for going through the cancer journey.” he explained.

United in Blue Rally 2023

We are live from the National Mall, where more than 27,000 blue flags stand to represent those who are projected to be diagnosed in 2030. Hear from Members of Congress, survivors, experts, and advocates who are igniting conversations around colorectal cancer and its devastating impact, outcome disparities, the urgent need for better treatments, and alarming predictions about patients under age 50. Take action here: https://fightcolorectalcancer.org/united-in-blue/

Posted by Fight Colorectal Cancer on Monday, March 13, 2023

Just last week Maxwell gave a speech at the United in Blue Rally at the Washington Monument.

It was part of the Call on Congress event sponsored by the group ‘Fight Colorectal Cancer.’

They’re calling on Congress to devote more funding to research and screening for the disease.

“The statistics are what they are,” he said. “So, the more awareness we can give about colorectal cancer, the more people can be aware that there is a problem and it’s getting bigger, not smaller.”

During the pandemic, cancer screenings dropped across the board. Maxwell is urging Mainers to not wait - get that screen. It could save your life.

“There are blood tests that are coming out. There are stool tests. Obviously, colonoscopies are the gold standard for screening but please have that conversation with your primary care physician early on,” he said. “There’s progress being made all the time. There is hundreds of clinical trials that are happening all across the country so, take that big breath. Understand that it is not a death sentence anymore. You can live a great life. I’ve lived an excellent life with stage IV for five years. Yes, it’s been hard, but I’ve made amazing memories with my family and lived with engagement and purpose, and you can have that too.”

Click here to purchase Maxwell’s book ‘Open Heart, Warrior Spirit: A Man’s Guide to Living with Cancer.’