Why We Should Speak Up About Colon Cancer

Why We Should Speak Up About Colon Cancer
4 min read

When we talk about colon cancer, the conversation is often around the effect it has on our bodies and our options for colon cancer treatments in Singapore. While this topic is still essential to our fight against the disease, we risk forgetting the other challenges people face when they get diagnosed and treated for it. 

It's important that we also bring the psychological impact of bowel cancers to light. By doing so, we can help more people be more open towards seeking help from others. 

What Fears and Stigmas Surround Colon Cancer?

Fear of a Poor Prognosis

Despite the colon cancer treatment options available to us now, at the end of the day, colon cancer brings anxiety to patients. This can happen even before receiving a diagnosis. Many of the fears that cause this include: 

The mindset that the illness will worsen despite surgeries and therapies

Worrying over experiencing intense pain and other aggravated symptoms in the future

Concerns over loved ones leaving us behind if the cancer moves to an advanced stage

The fear of death and what comes after

All these make it even more unfortunate when we consider that poor mental health--which anxiety can contribute to--can lower your survival rate. 

Stereotypes Regarding Unhealthy Lifestyles

When we get diagnosed with colon cancer, one can easily assume that we developed the disease because of an unhealthy diet or vices like alcoholism and smoking. This can be a source of shame if the assumptions are true, making it difficult to seek help. 

Inability to Cope With Bowel Changes

Changes in our bowel movements are to be expected, especially when the cancer has advanced to later stages. For instance, we may have more frequent bouts with constipation or diarrhoea. There is also the risk of having bowel incontinence. Not only can this be stressful to experience regularly, but it can also lead to feelings of guilt and shame around other people. 

Fears Regarding Colostomy Bags

A major physical change that could happen to us when having colon cancer treatments in Singapore is undergoing a colostomy, which would have us wear a colostomy bag. This is a special bag for collecting stool so it does not pass through the affected section of your colon. In some cases, the colostomy bag becomes a permanent part of ourselves. 

It is understandable that people can have this fear of living with a colostomy bag, temporarily or not. After all, it would be a significant adjustment to our daily routine and can cause body image issues. 

The Importance of Getting Educated on Colon Cancer

When we educate ourselves on the physical, psychological, and societal impact of having colon cancer, we can better speak out to others and help remove any stigmas they can have about the illness. For example: 

  • Just because someone has colon cancer does not mean they are a smoker or addicted to alcohol. Factors like genetics and age also play a part. 
  • Advancements in our options for colon cancer treatments help reduce the need for colostomy bags. Not everybody will have to undergo this procedure. 
  • A prognosis is not always fatal. The earlier you get screened, the more effective the treatments will likely be. 

Let Us Encourage Others to Get Screened

Did you know that Singapore gets around 1,200 new colon and rectal cancer cases each year? And that is only among the documented patients. One wonders how many more remain undiagnosed because of the stigma people may still have about the illness. 

But if we help raise awareness in our community, we can inspire others to get screened and take more steps to safeguard their health. We could also help them find the support groups they need to be heard and not feel alone. It is through our unified efforts that we can give ourselves and survivors another fighting chance at life. 


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Rebecca Teo 2
Rebecca, a digital writer and health specialist in Singapore, stays up-to-date with the latest nutrition and well-being research.
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