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How Trevor Maxwell Learned to Man Up to Cancer on His Journey with Colorectal Cancer

Welcome to Part 2 of a two-part colorectal cancer (CRC) awareness series featuring guest Trevor Maxwell, Founder and CEO of Man Up to Cancer, a non-profit that inspires men to connect and avoid isolation during their cancer journeys. Trevor shares what he’s learned since being diagnosed with stage 4 CRC six years ago, the darkness he faced from mental health struggles and how he ultimately decided to Man Up to Cancer himself.

Precision medicine (i.e. “personalized” medicine) is predicated on the idea that treating the whole person leads to better outcomes. Trevor’s story is evidence as host Karan Cushman takes listeners through his journey with cancer beginning with the less-than-obvious signs that led to his diagnosis at age 41.

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As husband to his wife, Sarah, and father to two young daughters, Sage and Elsie, Trevor now realizes he has a lot to live for, but in the initial months after he was diagnosed he couldn’t see beyond the devasting news. He says he felt like an outlier—as if all other men with cancer were somehow shouldering the burden without help while he struggled. He later realized that many, many men felt the same way he did, and they were less likely to be accessing support resources than women. Trevor says, “I just realized that something needed to be done for those guys like me who maybe don’t want to participate in a co-ed environment, and maybe if we give them something, maybe if we build something for them where it’s by men going through cancer, for men going through cancer, maybe they’ll open up.”


This realization led Trevor to launch Man Up to Cancer. He says, “People who isolate going through cancer have worse medical outcomes, number one, and worse problems with mental health.” He created his non-profit to address those issues head on.


Trevor notes that treating the whole person, not just the cancer, can save lives, but men first need to learn to ask for help. This whole-person approach is very much in line with the idea behind precision medicine today in that understanding ourselves and how we operate can optimize our treatment paths. As Trevor says, “For me, mental health was just as important as my physical health going through this [colorectal cancer]. For so many others, it’s the same.”


If you’re living with cancer or supporting someone through their journey with cancer, please tune in to Part 2 of our incredibly candid and insightful conversation with Trevor. Not only is he truly inspiring, but he underscores how cancer patients reaching out to their communities and asking for support can sometimes literally be a matter of life or death.


And don’t miss the other episodes in our CRC awareness series, which includes Part 1 with Trevor in which he discusses the critical need for better screening for CRC as well as our broader discussion with Dr. Douglas Flora, Executive Medical Director of Oncology Services at St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Editor-in-Chief of AI and Precision Oncology.

Download the full transcript of the episode here (pdf).


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About Our Guest

Trevor Maxwell

Founder and CEO, Man Up to Cancer

Trevor Maxwell is the founder and CEO of Man Up to Cancer, a support community that inspires men to connect and avoid isolation during their cancer journeys. He is the author of Open Heart, Warrior Spirit: A Man’s Guide to Living with Cancer.”


Trevor has been living with stage IV colon cancer since March of 2018. He has undergone seven major surgeries, chemotherapy,  immunotherapy, and a clinical trial. He lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, with his wife and two daughters. As a patient leader, he has received the Annette Cook Cancer Warrior Award and the Amanda Dempsey Award. 


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