Meet Anita Mitchell Isler

Anita Mitchell Isler

Designation:

Patient Advocate

Website URL:

http://www.colonstars.org

Anita Mitchell Isler was diagnosed with IV colorectal cancer at 41 years old. After learning more about her disease and family history she was determined to try to save others from this mostly preventable disease. 

Her advocacy started at her children’s school, when she started a Dress in Blue Day to build awareness about the disease and guidelines. This is now held across the country on the first Friday in March. 

She is a tireless advocate for colorectal cancer patients. She is the founder of Washington Colon Cancer Stars, a 501c3 which focuses on education for prevention and patient support. She has received various national awards for her work including Prevent Cancer Laurel of Advocacy Award, Colorectal Cancer Alliance (CCA) Visionary Award, National Colorectal Cancer Round Table (NCCRT) Blue Star award and local Rotary Self above service awards

She has volunteered for CCA as a buddy for 14 years and is a FCRC research advocate.

You are likely to find her wearing the Polly Polyp costume giving tours through the colon or sitting beside a newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patient. In her spare time, she is helping to raise 3 stepchildren in Woodinville Washington and enjoys spending time with her three grown children. 

I was diagnosed with IV Colon Cancer in 2005  just after turning 41. I had been to my primary doctor 5 months earlier complaining of blood in my stool and diarrhea.I was told it was hemorrhoids and not to worry, I did not need a colonoscopy, like it was a bad thing. I even had on my medical history that my father had died at 47 of cancer, but never questioned. After two years of chemotherapy and mulitiple surgeries I was declared No Evidence of Disease and it looked like I would beat the 5% statistic of making it 5 years.
 I started sharing my story to educate others while in treatment.I knew having colorectal cancer young had to be a problem because I was the third parent in my children’s school to be diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer way under 50.  In fact one of my dearest friends had passed 7 years prior at 37 with Colon Cancer. I joined our state task CRC task force and started Dress in Blue Day at my childrens school because I felt we needed to not just let people know about prevention through on time screening but symptoms in case they were under 50, that age group was being misdiagnosed and the delays effected their outcomes. I don’t think I planned to become a advocate but watching so many people pass from this mostly preventable  disease has made me unable to stop advocating.
– Anita