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Patient Representative: Haydn Bechthold

Supporting the Gastrointestinal Disease Site Committee

Resides in Toronto, Ontario | CCTG Patient Representative since 2023

"Being diagnosed at a young age with a condition typically associated with older individuals gave me insight into the shortcomings in cancer care for young patients. Although many types of cancer are more common in older adults, the risk also affects younger people, leading to similarly devastating consequences. As a patient representative, my goal is to offer the viewpoint of a young adult diagnosed with cancer. I aim to contribute a more comprehensive patient outlook to clinical trials, ensuring a broader representation of public perspectives and ultimately enhancing patient outcomes."

In 2021, at the age of 22, Haydn Bechthold received a stage 3C rectal cancer diagnosis, followed by the identification of Lynch syndrome. Having endured symptoms for over four years before his diagnosis, Haydn recognized the evident gaps in care for young adult cancer patients. This diagnosis abruptly halted his soccer career in Europe, yet it sparked a new passion for patient advocacy.

Benefiting from early molecular biomarker testing, Haydn personally experienced the impacts of precision medicine by participating in a clinical trial that involved an immunotherapy treatment plan. Upon completing his treatment, Haydn joined Colorectal Cancer Canada, aiming to leverage his own experience to assist others facing similar situations.

Since then, not only has he begun supporting the CCTG GI Cancer Committee, but Haydn has also embarked on his journey through law school at Toronto Metropolitan University. Alongside his studies, he works as a law student for a Labour and Employment law firm in Ottawa. His multifaceted endeavours reflect his commitment to both the legal field and supporting individuals dealing with the challenges of cancer.

"Clinical trials offer some of the most pioneering forms of treatment. Every “standard-of-care” treatment available today was once a part of a clinical trial. By engaging in a clinical trial, patients not only gain access to advanced treatments they might not have received otherwise, but they also contribute to advancing medical research. This dual benefit allows individuals to potentially help both themselves and others in the quest for improved healthcare."