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National Cancer Prevention Month Spotlight: Will Foster

Young patient talks about his journey against stage 4 colorectal cancer

GILBERT, Ariz. (Feb. 8, 2024) – National Cancer Prevention Month is recognized in February and this year, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center is highlighting a few of our patients and employees who have either faced, or are currently facing a cancer diagnosis. A new story will be shared every Thursday this month.

When he was only 37 years old in 2016, Will Foster said he started noticing blood in his stool. His doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong and for awhile, Foster thought he was suffering from hemorrhoids. When the bleeding continued to return, he scheduled a colonoscopy. Test results revealed he wasn’t bleeding from hemorrhoids, but rather as a result of stage 4 colorectal cancer.

“It came as a complete shock to me. A complete shock,” Foster said.

Unfortunately, Foster isn’t alone. According to research from the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is now the deadliest cancer for men under the age of 50, with one in five patients being between 20 and 54 years old.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends that colon cancer screenings begin at 45 years old unless there is an increased risk factor, such as a family history. Foster’s father, grandfather and uncle passed away from pancreatic cancer. Foster carries a family gene that doctors say played a role in causing his colon cancer.

Foster immediately underwent surgery as the cancer spread to his liver and bones. He then began radiation and chemotherapy treatment at Banner MD Anderson. Treatment had been working well until it was discovered the cancer spread again in 2019, this time to his lungs. He had another surgery to remove it and today, he continues to persevere through chemotherapy.

Now at 45 years old, he reflects on the care he’s received over the last eight years.

“I’ve been in a lot of hospitals in the last eight years. There’s a huge difference at Banner MD Anderson,” Foster said. “The level of kindness from everyone is unmatched. I’ve felt supported and truly taken care of throughout my treatment.”

Foster has shared advice and support to others who have just been diagnosed with cancer, including close friends.

“I have a family friend who also went to [Banner] MD Anderson for treatment. She got cancer, and was very scared,” Foster said. “I told her ‘trust the doctors, they saved my life.’ They took care of me, and I wanted her to know that they’d take care of her too – and they did. She’s now cancer-free.”

He says the most important piece of advice he can give others is to continue showing up not just physically, but also emotionally throughout what can be a long treatment process.

“Show up and trust what [the doctors] say. They’re going to know what’s best for you, just like with me,” Foster said.

About Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center 

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center delivers cancer care to patients through the partnership of Banner Health and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner MD Anderson offers focused disease-specific expertise in the medical, radiation and surgical management of the cancer patient; an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to patient care; access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies; state-of-the-art technology for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of all types of cancer; oncology expertise in supportive care services. For more information, visit

About Banner Health 

Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner also operates an academic medicine division, Banner – University Medicine, and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs,      MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner’s array of services includes a health insurance division, employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care locations, home care and hospice services, retail pharmacies, stand-alone imaging centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, a research division and a nursing registry. To make health care easier, 100% of Banner-employed doctors are available for virtual visits, and Banner operates a free 24/7 nurse line for health questions or concerns. Patients may also reserve spots at Banner Urgent Care locations and can book appointments online with many Banner-employed doctors. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health also has locations in California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit

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