Colon cancer survivor rings bell at Anderson Cancer Institute after 7-year battle

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – A great-grandmother celebrated a huge win Tuesday morning in her battle against colorectal cancer.

The survivor completed her last radiation treatment at the Curtis & Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute in Savannah. Pat Manser rang the bell in the lobby for the fourth time after receiving a huge round of applause from the hospital staff.

“A lot of the doctors are surprised I’m still here, and so am I in a way and that I feel as well as I do!” said Manser.

The 74-year-old was diagnosed with colorectal cancer seven years ago. The upbeat, spirited survivor first came into Memorial Health with a perforated colon requiring emergency surgery. She has since had three recurrences, and four rounds of chemotherapy.

“Every time it’s come back, I knew in my own heart and my mind that I couldn’t let myself be down. (…) I did lose my hair the other 3 times, but I loved my wigs! I really did,” she said.

Michael Hasselle, an MD in Radiation Oncology, said his patient has such a great attitude.

“To have had three different surgical specialists to help coordinate your care… to have been through chemotherapy with a medical oncologist and radiation therapy with me, she’s kind of utilized the whole team to her benefit. It’s amazing she’s here and doing well seven years down the road,” said Hasselle.

Manser said part of her positivity comes from her passion for helping animals. She started the nonprofit called Helping Out Pets in Effingham (H.O.P.E.) to collect items for rescue groups and shelters.

The colon cancer survivor hopes her experience will inspire others to take control of their health and get screened.

“I hope my story will make someone go get a colonoscopy who should just go get one. It’s so easy, and it can prevent so much heartache, suffering, and pain!”

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Manser said she is looking forward to attending two of her grandchildren’s college graduations in May.

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