David Dozbaba enjoys skiing, camping, hiking and spending time with family. When he’s not enjoying the Colorado outdoors, he can often be found working hard as a sales representative for a major supplier of surgical devices for O.R. suites. So when David learned he had colon cancer, he was already familiar with the instrumentation that would be used to save his life.
As a 50-year-old, David knew the time had come for him to schedule a screening colonoscopy. Uneager to have the procedure, he admits that he dragged his feet for a while. He finally scheduled an appointment, but when he woke up with abdominal pain three weeks prior to his planned colonoscopy, he decided to speed up the process. The colonoscopy revealed that David had a Stage 3 bowel tumor.
“People that have had previous family history [of cancer], should not wait until they’re 50 to have their first colonoscopy,” he says.
But David wasn’t aware of any history of cancer in his family when he was diagnosed. It was only after his diagnosis that he learned an aunt and an uncle had also battled cancer.
“Talk to the older family members about these types of things,” says David. Had he known that he might be more at risk for cancer due to his family history, he likely would have scheduled that colonoscopy at 45 or sooner. “Insurances may cover it if there is family history, and if you catch colon cancer early enough, surgery might be all you need to treat it.”
Upon learning that he had colon cancer, David immediately began searching for the surgeon that would be able to offer him the best care around. He asked a coworker—who managed device sales for this type of surgery—who the go-to person was in Denver for colorectal surgery. David was told that it was Rose colorectal surgeon Dr. David Longcope.
“I said, ‘OK, that’s my guy.’”
In his line of work, David meets lots of surgeons. Even with 21 years of experience, David still says he’s very impressed with Dr. Longcope.
“He’s just a top-notch surgeon,” he says. David’s surgery was a laparoscopic procedure, meaning that it was minimally invasive, and the instruments used for his surgery were supplied by the company David works for. “He’s in the upper echelon of world-class colorectal surgeons.”
After Dr. Longcope removed several inches of his colon, David had six months of chemotherapy. The chemo, he says, was the hard part—not the surgery.
Since the chemotherapy, David has been without cancer. He still has CAT scans annually and blood tests every three months. Clearly passionate about what he does, David says that his career helped him to focus his attention and energy in a healthy direction. He says he spent most of his time during treatment working just like he always had.
“That’s the best therapy—is just to get out and keep doing your thing,” he says. He found working was a helpful distraction. “Live life to its fullest and don’t dwell on it.”
The Rose “Surviving Well” calendar is a 12-month calendar highlighting our cancer services, physicians and inspirational stories from our patients. David is our survivor for March.