MT. JULIET, TN (WSMV) -- If you think colon cancer is an old person's disease, 33-year-old Sonia Morris of Mount Juliet proves otherwise.

She was just 27 when she started showing symptoms of colorectal cancer.

She just didn't know it.

"I was losing weight, I was really fatigued, I was sleeping so much. My appetite was gone," Morris said. "For three years I saw four different doctors at three different medical facilities and I was told the same thing--you're too young for cancer. Change your diet, eat better."

But the bloody stool continued. Her already severe rectal pain got worse.

After she moved from California to Nashville, her husband insisted she get an appointment at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

"And the very first doctor I saw, was the one who listened to me," Morris added. "He set me up with a colonoscopy and endoscopy, which is going down my throat, and when I woke up about an hour later, he told me I had cancer."

It was Stage 3C colorectal cancer.

Sonia Morris was just 30 years old.

After four months of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, Morris was declared cancer-free in April of 2018.

She learned her grandfather died from colon cancer. His five siblings had it too.

"Had I known I inherited a genetic mutation, I could have gotten myself checked out and a surgery done when I was 19, 20 years old."

Today Morris is determined to use her second chance to spread the word about colorectal cancer--and walk with other young people through their cancer battle.

She volunteers every day at the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, chatting with folks on-line, and as a "buddy" when someone is diagnosed.

She's also on a youth advisory board focused on educating the public and those diagnosed under 50.

"I think about it almost every day," Morris said. "What I've been through sucked. That's the best way I can say it. It's the truth."

"If I can save somebody else's life, by sharing what I've been through and my story, it makes everything I've been through worth it."

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which brings attention to the second deadliest cancer in the U.S..

It is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer and highly treatable with early detection.

This year, the American Cancer Society estimates 3,540 people in Tennessee will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 1,260 may die.

For more information visit ccalliance.org.

 

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