Colorectal Cancer Survivor: Gail Citron

Gail Citron rings the gong to mark the end of her proton therapy treatments

Gail rings the gong to mark the end of her proton therapy treatments.

Gail’s discovery

In December 2006, Gail Citron was relieved to have completed treatment for rectal cancer. She then began keeping a health journal to track any new health developments. During her routine checkup in May 2016, Gail shared her health journal with her new family doctor who reviewed the journal thoroughly. After reading the last item on the journal, Gail’s doctor immediately ordered testing to determine the cause of numbness in and around Gail’s buttocks.

The CT scan results revealed Gail’s cancer had returned, however, this time it was in her pelvis region. Her doctor recommended she go to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where they would be able to provide the best treatment for her condition. After completing a consultation at MD Anderson Cancer Center, doctors recommended Gail receive proton therapy for colorectal cancer.

Proton therapy would be able to precisely target the tumor while sparing her nearby tissue. Gail completed her treatment in 13 days at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center.

Noticing the first signs

At first, colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms so it can be confused with other health conditions.

“I thought I had hemorrhoids.” Gail said.

When she consulted her physician in 2006, he explained it was nothing to worry about. Due to her persistence, she had a colonoscopy completed which then revealed the cancer. Gail underwent different treatments over a period of approximately seven months that included radiation, surgery and chemotherapy.

Gail’s words of advice

After her journey with colorectal cancer, she recommends young and older adults listen to their body especially if there is a family history of colorectal cancer.

“If you have any family history, you need to get colonoscopy.” Gail said. “I feel very fortunate to have received this type of treatment.”

Managing cancer the second time

Having to experience cancer a second time can be difficult; however, Gail praises the Proton Therapy Center staff for making her experience more than comfortable.

“I’m an early bird so to see the staff bright-eyed and bushy-tailed early in the morning was very nice.” Gail said. “They were kind, fun, loving people.”

Gail thanks her family and friends for their immense support during her treatment. Gail has returned to her routine life back home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.