Last August 23, Youtube vlogger Wil Dasovich announced that he was diagnosed with cancer. Few days shy of his 26th birthday, after having several tests, his doctor confirmed that the popular Fil-Am Youtube sensation has stage 3 colon cancer.
Anyone who’s watched a single vlog of his exploits across Asia over the last two years knows that Dasovich is the ultimate picture of youth, with his fit physique and boundless positive energy. Yet finding out that even someone who seemed so healthy and invincible could be hit by something as ruthless (and sadly, as commonplace) as cancer is the biggest reality check we all might just need to re-examine our lifestyles.
Here's why you should get that colonoscopy
Large intestinal or colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in Singapore, with about 1,200 new cases diagnosed each year. Here in the Philippines, it’s the third most common cancer as well as the third leading cause of cancer deaths today.
Blame it on them adenomatous polyps. These nasty buggers are gland-like growths which develop on the mucous membrane lining the large intestine.
You don’t get these polyps from reading.
A large majority of colorectal cancers arise due to these polyps, and they are present in as many as one in four men by the age of 50. At the same time, it is also one of the most treatable and preventable forms of cancer, if detected early.
The good news? It takes a period of 5 to 10 years for these polyps to become malignant. So as long as you (literally) keep your ass in check, colorectal cancer (or the risk for) can easily be detected in premalignant phase (which is that important window of opportunity before the polyps become cancerous).
There are several non-invasive tests that look for polyps, but a colonoscopy is considered the gold standard for accurately detecting colorectal cancer. A thin tube called a colonoscope is inserted through the rectum to allow doctors to look at the inner lining of the large intestine, and can be done within 15 minutes. Most polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy, removing the need for surgery to remove the growths.
Take it from Emma.
Doctors say that mild sedation is typically given to relieve the patient’s discomfort or anxiety (although it’s certainly nothing like giving birth), and that there is hardly any down time (again, not like birthing an infant). In fact, most patients can resume their regular diet later in the day.
Just think of it as a prolonged enema.
On a more serious note, the following cancers are recognized by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the top five cancers among middle-aged American men: PROSTATE, LUNG, COLORECTAL, BLADDER, and SKIN (melanoma).
Studies have shown that as men age, their risk of these cancers increase, which makes early detection important. The chances of treatment and recovery improve greatly when cancers are detected early, which is why it is strongly encouraged that men aged 40 and above have annual check-ups to monitor signs of disease.
However, thanks to Wil (and possibly someone you may know and love), we know cancer can hit anyone. It’s the serial killer that doesn’t discriminate by age, sex, political views, or religion.
And you can’t just knock it out with a single punch.
Like Santa, it does, however, like to pay attention to how you live. For example, it’s been proven that a diet high in processed foods and meats coupled with a sedentary lifestyle are the main causes of cancer.
Have you been a bad boy?
The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research reviewed thousands of studies on cancer and found that these factors help in preventing cancer or the recurrence of cancer.
1) Watch your waistline: Keep body fat as low as possible, within the normal body weight range.
2) Move: Do what you can to remain physically active.
3) Curb your sweet tooth: Consume less sugar and eat mostly plant-based food (but avoid mouldy cereals, grains. and pulses).
4) Hold the salt: Lessen intake of red and/or processed meat.
5) Watch your alcohol: Men should not drink more than two glasses a day.
6) Eat your vitamins: Get them from your diet rather than taking supplements.
7) Listen to your body: Visit your doctor immediately after experiencing symptoms such as weight loss, pelvic/back/hip pain, urinary difficulties such as burning or pain during urination, or inability to urinate, or blood in the urine/stool. These symptoms usually emerge when the cancer is in a more advanced stage.
That said, screening tests can even help in preventing cancer from developing in the first place. Early detection of cancer is as important as preventing it. There are a wide range of tests that can be done to check for cancer cells in a patient’s body. That said, a healthy lifestyle, with lower meat consumption, goes a long way.
For more information about cancer, its causes and treatments, you may visit and subscribe to HealthNews, a monthly community publication by Parkway Cancer Centre Singapore. For information on the centre and their services, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.