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Patient Voices

Digestive Cancers Europe believes that the patient voice is central to improving the patient experience. As experts in their own lives patients can provide insight into what it is really like to face a life changing disease and in particular colorectal cancer.

More and more we see patients becoming involved in initiatives aimed at improving health systems and we truly believe this to be the new age of patient involvement. However one of the most important roles for patients is to share their experiences and to provide hope to others facing similar challenges.

We want to hear your story. 

We hope that this section of our website will provide the platform and inspiration for patients/survivors to tell their own story. If you would like to contribute to this page please contact: Zorana Maravic at

Marta's Story

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I was asked this question by my new doctor the first time that I saw her after I retired. I had been a healthy, enthusiastic athlete who did not have time for sickness because I worked at the University and students of Food Technology were relying on me in chemical or technological laboratories. It was difficult to say goodbye to my old physician.

He was one of those who you can trust and he understood me, even when I was started, like autumn leaves in the wind, travelling to distant lands. When I decided to go to Tibet for 7 weeks, after my retirement,he asked me to have a health check on my return because he was interested in how my body being unused to such heights. "You are completely healthy" he said after checking, you have no worries for at least 5 years! Unfortunately, after 3 years it turned out differently.

I followed the advice of my new doctor and I had a colonoscopy, due to the presence of CRC in my father's family even in my generation, , although I had never had any problems with digestion. It felt like birth contractions, just finished much faster! It seemed that everything was in order when the doctor showed me the screen; there was a small polyp on the intestinal wall. He wanted to remove it, but it was not possible. He told that it was possible for a polyp to be cancerous, so it was advisable to remove a small piece of tissue as well. I wasn't scared, even when doctor informed me week later that the report was positive and said: "I have spoken with the surgeons and if you arrive on Monday, they will perform surgery immediately."
I agreed because I believe that doctors do their best. They did not disappoint me and I will be thankful to them all my life. After the operation, I quickly recovered, but unfortunately the report showed that the disease had already spread to the lymph nodes and I had to have six months of chemotherapy. It has completely changed my view on life.

However, the year 2003 is far behind me. I began to look at life differently, as something final, which I appreciate and protect. Above all, I now I value my life and I am thankful for this! Prior to this disease I could not say that all others were more important than I was. I try to change my life, doing things that I like and speak about my feelings with people I trust.

Joy is doubled and sorrow is halved when you share it with others. Now I know that family members and friends don't know how to talk to us about cancer, perhaps they fear, so we should be the ones who start to talk about our disease with them. Sometimes, we cannot influence what is happening to us but we can decide how we are going to react in the situation. Optimism and joy of life help greatly.

I am happy and now I know life is beautiful!

Marta from Slovenia
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Digestive Cancers Europe vzw/asbl
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The information contained in this website is for general health education purposes only. Its objective is to give general guidance, and should not replace or be interpreted as a consultation with a physician or a healthcare professional. For any personal questions about your health, please talk to your doctor. Even if we try to keep the information on our website up-to-date and correct, we cannot guarantee that it covers all the latest medical and scientific insights.
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