At only 38 years of age, married with two children, Paul, 8, and Julia, 5, I was diagnosed with hyperplastic polyposis syndrome, a familial polyp syndrome, characterized by the presence of multiple large hyperplastic polyps within the colon. Left untreated, these polyps develop into cancer. In October 2006, I underwent a colonoscopy shortly after my younger brother Gary, 35, was also screened. Our screening revealed over 100 polyps in each of us. We underwent extensive medical evaluations and were both diagnosed with this life threatening medical condition.
Despite having this syndrome, Gary and I were asymptomatic and in fact, felt great and otherwise healthy. We were completely unaware of our predisposition to this precancerous condition. My uncertainty and fear of this otherwise unfamiliar condition was overwhelming.
This fear transformed to hope following my vast search for a qualified colorectal surgeon, which led me to Dr. Jose G. Guillem, a physician with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. In January 2007, Dr. Guillem successfully performed a total colectomy, removing the colon with the precancerous polyps. (Please refer to Dr. Guillem’s biography on this site.)
Without the early diagnosis and treatment Gary and I received, our condition could have become cancerous. We were fortunate!
My own personal experience was the underpinning to establishing “The De Rosa Foundation for Colon Cancer Research and Prevention”. This life transforming event inspired me and I developed the overwhelming need to raise awareness on colon cancer and perhaps help others. This foundation was created to help promote education and raise much needed funds for colon cancer research. Only through education and research will we be able to continue to advance prevention and treatment in hopes of one day finding a cure!
Our organization continues to evolve and expand and through the benevolence of our contributors, we are able to continue the fight against colon cancer and the goal of attaining a cure.