New Program Offers Support for Young Onset Colorectal Cancer Patients

UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center

When you’re in your thirties, working and raising kids, the last thing that should be on your mind is a cancer diagnosis. However, colon cancer is becoming more and more common in those younger than 45, which is the recommended age to begin colon cancer screening. In fact, individuals born after 1990 are at six times the risk for developing colon cancer than their parents.

This is a reality one young mother knows all too well. At only 33, Amber Seay is facing colon cancer.

Amber SeayAmber and her 14-year-old daughter have always loved shopping and all things food, which is exactly how she first knew something was wrong. Between extreme stomach pains and losing her appetite, Amber did not feel like herself anymore.

In September of 2022, Amber was diagnosed with stage two colon cancer. Within seven months of her diagnosis, Amber’s cancer had spread to her other organs.

Amber was shocked to find out that her cancer had progressed to stage four. Upon hearing this news, she sought a second opinion and treatment at UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center.

“Getting that second opinion makes that big difference that can save your life,” Amber said.

UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center is now offering a program for young colorectal cancer patients like Amber. The Young Onset Colorectal Cancer Program helps provide support relating to transportation, mental health, the long-term effects of chemotherapy, and so much more.

“Amber didn’t have a family history of cancer so it’s good that she recognized something wasn’t right and got the diagnosis. People who are in their 30s are at a much higher risk for colon and rectal cancer than their parents and we don’t yet know why this is happening,” Dr. Abigail Chan, medical oncologist at Brown Cancer Center, said. “A cancer diagnosis at such a young age is overwhelming and can bring a huge emotional toll. That’s what inspired us to start a program specifically aimed at helping a young population through their colorectal cancer journey.”

Through this difficult diagnosis, Amber was able to find an unforgettable cancer care team, including Dr. Chan.

“I am just so thankful for them,” Amber said. “They saved my life.”

Amber has been receiving treatment at UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center for the past year and is celebrating some exciting results – the treatment is working!

Amber warns others to watch out for signs that something may be wrong, no matter how young or old: “When you think something is wrong, don’t be scared to go find out.” For Amber, loss of appetite and stomach pains were her telltale signs, but blood in stool and changes in bowel habits are other common symptoms of colon cancer.

Thanks to the treatment and care she is receiving, Amber is feeling much like her old self again. Her energy level has bounced back, meaning she is able to spend her time doing what she loves with her daughter. The duo is back to shopping and eating together!

Going through treatment and being a mother is undoubtedly difficult, but Amber’s daughter is her biggest supporter: “My daughter loves coming to treatment with me and keeping me company.”

Amber offers some solid advice for those going through tough times: “Stay positive and always look for the brighter things in the darkest times, because that is what keeps you going.”

With early detection through screening, colorectal cancers are preventable and treatable. Talk to your primary care physician about colorectal screening. To schedule an appointment with a primary care provider at UofL Health, call 502-588-4343. For more information on screening, call 502-210-4497.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or to learn more about the Young Onset Colorectal Cancer Program at UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center, call 502-562-HOPE (4673) and visit

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Article by: UofL Health

UofL Health is a fully integrated regional academic health system with eight hospitals, four medical centers, Brown Cancer Center, Eye Institute, nearly 200 physician practice locations, and more than 1,000 providers in Louisville and the surrounding counties, including southern Indiana. Additional access to UofL Health is provided through a partnership with Carroll County Memorial Hospital. With more than 13,000 team members – physicians, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and other highly-skilled health care professionals, UofL Health is focused on one mission: to transform the health of communities we serve through compassionate, innovative, patient-centered care.

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