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Brian’s Story: A Colonoscopy Saved My Life

Published 01/16/2024

Bryan Clayton of Wakefield, rode his bike to radiation treatments at South County Health

Colorectal cancer is among the most common cancers in men and women. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The American Cancer Society now recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45. Not counting some kinds of skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men and women.

Last Spring, Brian Clayton was 46. With this in mind, Brian’s primary care physician referred him to Gastro-enterologist Colin Woodard, DO, a member of the South County Health medical staff, for screening.

On April 18, 2023, Brian woke from his colonoscopy to the unexpected news that he had a rectal tumor. Days later, he met with oncologist and South County Hospital Cancer Center Medical Director, Angela Taber, MD.

Brian’s care plan included multiple rounds of chemotherapy, followed by multiple rounds of radiation, as well as a potential surgery. Brian says, “Dr. Taber’s friendly, upbeat demeanor was contagious. Also, Caroline Kinney (Family Nurse Practitioner), and all the staff of the beautiful Cancer Center, were absolutely great.”

Venturing into his first day of treatment, Brian wore a “Make My Colon Great Again” t-shirt gifted to him by his wife, Tiffany, for the occasion. “Tiffany is incredibly supportive. She bought me funny shirts for each of my six chemo sessions. The shirts were always a hit with both staff and other patients. For my 28 sessions of radiation with Dr. Daniel Fass, Tony, Brianna, and the rest of the excellent staff, we decided a funny shirt for the first day would have to be enough.”

Bryan Clayton's shirt reads "I'm secretly hoping radiation gives me superpowers"

Brian describes his sessions at South County Health Radiation Therapy as “smooth and thankfully painless. I was so grateful to have such a nice facility so close to home, just a mile and a half from my house. I was even able to ride my bicycle there most days,” he says.

“Throughout the process at South County Health, everyone was warm, caring, and professional. I felt confident I was in good hands and the communication was great. I am so grateful for the consistently excellent care I received from South County Health!” Although surgery may eventually be required, Brian reports that “follow-up imaging has again confirmed no visible indication of cancer!”

In November, Brian ran The Mews Tavern Gear ‘N’ Beer 5K, the proceeds from which were donated to South County Health’s Breast Health Center. Appropriately, says Brian, “it was my first 5K since completing my cancer treatments. Caroline Kinney (who was volunteering at the event) even served me food after!”

To learn more about Cancer Care at South County Health, including Radiation Therapy, visit

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