Sixty seven-year-old Elsie Garcia has always taken cancer prevention seriously. Each year when Kaiser Permanente mailed her an at-home colon cancer screening test, she completed it immediately and looked forward to clear results.
In 2007, Elsie’s results came back positive. The at-home screening, called a fecal immunochemical test (FIT), uses a stool sample to detect a wide array of colon health issues early on, but Elsie knew the most threatening health complication it could detect was colon cancer.
Elsie met with gastroenterologist Robert Lin, MD, at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center. Dr. Lin explained the importance of having a colonoscopy, which would determine the reason Elsie’s FIT came back positive. Elsie agreed to have the procedure, and within two days was diagnosed with stage 1 colon cancer.
Elsie felt scared when she received the diagnosis, but knew she was in good hands. At Dr. Lin’s request, Elsie opted for surgery to remove the cancer.
“Dr. Lin told me not to be afraid,” remembered Elsie. “He visited me before the procedure and after the procedure to make sure that I was okay.”
The surgery was successful, and Elsie was able to return to work just one week after her surgery.
Seven years later, Elsie is in full remission, and Dr. Lin continues to monitor her health. “I would not change Kaiser for anything in the world,” Elsie said. “I couldn’t expect any better care.”