PEPPERELL — Pepperell Police Chief David Scott has decided to go public with his recent diagnosis and the beginning of his battle against colon cancer, in hopes that his experience may help others recognize the importance of early detection.
Chief Scott was recently diagnosed with stage four colon cancer after seeking treatment for pain in his chest. He is scheduled to begin treatment with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute next week.
“I thought it was indigestion,” Chief Scott said of his initial symptoms. “I had been experiencing some stomach issues for a while that I assumed was a stomach bug, and I thought the chest discomfort was part of it.”
During a recent visit to his primary care physician and upon mentioning pain in his chest, Chief Scott informed his doctor of his symptoms, and he was immediately sent to the emergency department at Nashoba Valley Medical Center, to rule out a possible heart condition. He was seen by Dr. Gabriel Simon, chief of emergency medicine at the hospital.
“My heart is fine,” said Chief Scott with his unflappable sense of humor also intact.
However, tests showed lesions on his liver and lungs, and Chief Scott was transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for further testing and to evaluate a blood clot that was found in one of the scans he underwent.
Testing eventually identified a tumor in Chief Scott’s colon, which had spread to his liver and lungs. Chief Scott met with an oncologist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute on March 11, and a treatment plan was developed.
“I am going to fight this,” Chief Scott said, “but other people shouldn’t have to if they get tested early enough and pay attention to the warning signs.”
Even though his grandfather died of colon cancer at a relatively young age, Chief Scott, 49, was still informed that he needed to wait until he was 50 years old to be tested.
“There are options for early testing now that doctors and insurance companies really need to embrace. Obviously, I don’t know where this journey is going to take me, but there would have likely been a greater chance at a better outcome if we found this earlier,” Chief Scott said. “It’s best to catch it before you have symptoms, but if you don’t, paying attention to your symptoms could save your life.”
The American Cancer Society lists the following warning signs for colorectal cancer:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by having one
- Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
- Blood in the stool, which might make it look dark brown or black
- Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Losing weight without trying
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. More information on colorectal cancer can be found here.
Chief Scott plans to continue working as Chief of the Pepperell Police Department.
“I still plan to be at work whenever I can. There won’t be any change in the level of service to the public at all,” Chief Scott said. “We have a great team of very capable people, and I am lucky to have their support as well as the support of my family and friends.”
Chief Scott, who has donated to the Jimmy Fund for years says that he always hoped he would never need their help.
“I walked the Jimmy Fund Walk last year with my fellow police chiefs to support Dana Farber and all the great things they do there. I am grateful that they have taken me on as a patient and will be supporting me in this fight. I’ve already signed up for the 2021 Jimmy Fund Walk and hope to make the walk for many years to come..”
Anyone interested in supporting Chief Scott’s 2021 Jimmy Fund Walk can find more information, here: http://danafarber.jimmyfund.org/goto/ChiefDavidScott