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Johns Hopkins Health - Second Chance

Fall 2009
Issue No. 6

Second Chance

Date: September 24, 2009

Lynda Leventer

I had minimal symptoms—only a bit of bleeding in my stool. Even though I didn’t have a family history of colorectal cancer, my doctor sent me for a colonoscopy.

That day changed my entire life.

I had colorectal cancer that had also spread to my liver, and it was aggressive. The first specialist I saw told me it was a death sentence. I was 43 years old with two young children. My husband and I couldn’t accept that. We came to Johns Hopkins.

Within days, they assembled a team of oncologists and had a plan. First, chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and lesions in my liver, then surgery to remove the tumor in the liver, then radiation that would target the cancer that had begun in my colon, a surgical resection there and a final round of chemotherapy.

It was a lot to process, a lot to consider. But I knew if I had a chance of surviving, this was going to be it. When you have two kids, there are no other options—you do whatever you can. Today, I’m so thankful to say that it was all worth it, because it worked.

I won’t lie—this was scary, and I was more afraid than I’d ever been. But the specialists at Johns Hopkins took my case so personally, and there was so much support at each step. I wasn’t just another patient. I can’t tell you how much that helped me and my family.

Looking back, what’s even scarier is that if I hadn’t had that initial colonoscopy, I’d be dead. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance, and I’m drinking it in.

A Case for Early Diagnosis

  • Lynda Leventer’s diagnosis was metastatic colorectal cancer to the liver. This means that her cancer began in her colon and spread into her liver.
  • There are about 140,000 cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed annually in the U.S. In approximately 60 percent of those, the cancer will spread to the liver.
  • Symptoms may be difficult to identify, which is why colon cancer screenings are so important, as well as talking to your doctor about unusual symptoms.

Learn more about Lynda Leventer’s story at For appointments and consultations, call 877-546-1872.