Patient Stories

Colon Cancer Survivor

Kay Bartlett

“In 2002, a friend had a CA 125 blood test done during an ordinary visit to her gynecologist that detected early ovarian cancer,” Bartlett recalls. “So I asked my gynecologist for the same test, and she gave me that test as well as a CA 19-9, which is what had detected her father’s pancreatic cancer.”In a seemingly random set of coincidences, Kay Bartlett’s primary care physician found her colon cancer because of a blood test.

The results that came back were a bit surprising to Bartlett and her doctor. Her CA 125 was negative, but the CA 19-9 was positive.

Kay Bartlett, Anchorage, Alaska

  • Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2002 at age 63
  • Cured with chemotherapy, radiation, and oral chemotherapy

“I had a colonoscopy next and they couldn’t make the turn, so they referred me to UW Medical Center for a “virtual” colonoscopy, where they discovered that I had colon cancer,” says Bartlett, who was 63 years old at the time.

Bartlett returned to her home in Anchorage, Alaska for surgery and decided to have chemotherapy there as well. Six months after completing treatment however, her levels went up and a CT scan (computed tomography) showed that cancer had spread to her retro peritoneal lymph nodes.

“It was then that we met Dr. Edward Lin, who is an expert in caring for people with colon cancer,” Bartlett says.

It took many months of chemotherapy, but by the end of 2003, Bartlett’s tumor was down to the size of a pea. She then received radiation for five weeks, finishing in February 2004. Under Dr. Lin’s direction, Bartlett has taken oral chemotherapy ever since and sees him frequently for follow-ups, though now only every six months.

“We don’t know the long-term effects of taking the oral chemo this long, so Dr. Lin is pushing to take me off of it this spring,” Bartlett says, who’s been in remission for four years and happy because her treatment doesn’t interfere with her golf game.

“Dr. Lin is basically brilliant,” says Bartlett. “He really listens to you, is superbly trained, and has an outstanding clinical practice. All that plus he’s an outstanding human being. I couldn’t be in better care.”