Personal Story: Colonoscopy Saved Laura Moore's Life

Colonoscopy saved Laura Moore's life. Laura Moore has always been a health-conscious person—getting annual physicals, eating well and exercising. But after her father passed away in 2012 from a difficult battle with stage 4 colorectal cancer, Laura knew she had to be checked.

“When my dad was diagnosed, I immediately headed to the public library and pulled every book off of the shelves to better understand this disease,” explains Laura. “My dad was African-American. When I learned that colon cancer is dramatically higher in the African-American population, I knew I needed to get a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer.”

Getting the diagnosis

After her colonoscopy in July 2012, Laura, then age 47, received news that she had stage 2 cancer in the lower part of the colon. “I was in shock, yet not denial—it took a few seconds to process the horrible news,” she remembers. “I was still mourning for my dad and now possibly facing my own demise.”

Robotic surgery offered Laura a quicker recovery

Laura needed surgery to remove the portion of the colon that had cancer. Virtua colorectal surgeon Keith Meslin, MD, performed Laura’s surgery using robotic surgery—a minimally invasive approach that allows the surgeon to perform surgery through a few small incisions. The robotic procedure offers effective cancer control, reduces pain and speeds recovery. Laura was up and walking 12 hours after surgery, and discharged after a 3-night stay.  Since the cancer was caught early, Laura didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Laura’s mission: Everyone needs to get screened

Because Laura is uninsured, she worked with Virtua’s patient accounting team to seek charity care to cover her medical expenses. Charity care is a state-mandated and partially state-funded program that allows uninsured or underinsured people to receive inpatient and outpatient care either free or at a reduced cost.

Laura has now made it her mission to spread the word in the African-American community about the importance of screenings. The NJCEED at Virtua (NJCEED) Program at Virtua provides free breast, cervical, prostate and colorectal cancer screenings for Burlington and Camden County residents who meet certain age and income requirements. “I want people to know that they have screening options. Don’t hold back on taking care of your health even if you don’t have insurance,” explains Laura. “We only get one shot at life, so run with the ball. Don't allow fear, embarrassment, poverty or ignorance to stand in your way.”

Updated June 6, 2016

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