New West MP Aman Singh is treated for colon cancer

Richmond-Queensborough MPP Aman Singh is hopeful he will prevail in his battle with colon cancer.

In an exclusive interview with the Save, Singh said he was diagnosed with colon cancer after undergoing the routine recommended screening by the BC Cancer Agency for people 50 years of age and over.

“No symptoms,” he said. “Completely healthy. All of my blood work has been going well lately, and this time too. Then there was just one abnormality, blood in the stool. It was in May of this year.

Subsequent tests confirmed that the lump on Singh’s colon was cancerous. It is suspected that cancer can also be found in the lymph nodes because they are enlarged.

“I really want to stress that it’s really important to stay healthy and that (people) go out and get tested. We have this opportunity; let’s use this because you never know, ”he said. “If I hadn’t been there, I would never have known and it would have come so much further.”

Singh’s treatment plan includes radiation therapy and chemotherapy, followed by surgery. His five radiation sessions in a “Star Trekkie” machine took place at the end of October.

In an interview on November 26 with the Save via Zoom, Singh said he was feeling “quite tired” after having had his second chemotherapy treatment a week earlier. From the end of October to March 25, 2022, he will receive chemotherapy every three weeks.

“The chemo is quite difficult. It leaves you with a general feeling of unease all the time. The nausea is quite intense with the medication, ”he said. “I missed a few days in the legislature but wanted to be there as much as I could, which I could.”

After his chemotherapy is finished at the end of March, Singh and his doctors will discuss what type of surgery is needed.

I am still working

Singh was elected MLA for Richmond-Queensborough in the provincial election on October 24, 2020.

“I thought it was important that I tell my constituents,” he said. “Someone once told me that my brand is transparency. I think I see how transparent being about my addiction is and how it has helped other people. “

During treatment for Colon Cancer, Singh said he plans to continue working. During the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the work of MPs has shifted to virtual meetings – and that’s something he will stick to over the next few months.

“My immune system is going to be more compromised at this point,” he explained. “Not only COVID, but even the flu could really knock me down. For the next six months or so, I won’t be doing much personal meetings. But I have a phenomenal staff; I have two employees who go above and beyond. I meet people on Zoom as much as I can. “

Singh sings the praises of the healthcare professionals who support him throughout his cancer journey, including doctors, nurses and technicians.

“Without them I think it would be a lot harder for a lot of people,” he said. “I think that’s the common thread with everyone who goes there. The staff and the people who care for you; we are so privileged to live here.”

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, survival varies at every stage of colorectal cancer. Generally, the earlier colorectal cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.

“Right away I was associated with a surgical oncologist, who was phenomenal, who did their best to give me as much information as possible and reassure me,” Singh said. “It’s a really pretty common form of cancer and it can be treated. It really helped. Information really helps.

Singh is the third person in her immediate family to be diagnosed with cancer.

“My mother died of cancer in 2018. She had breast cancer in the 90s, then it came back and metastasized into her bones. My father had prostate cancer. He has been successfully operated on at VGH and is doing well. That was many years ago, “he said.” In our nuclear family, there are my parents, my brother and I, so three out of four had cancer, and I think he there are a lot of families like that out there. “

Fight stigma

The colon and rectum are part of the llarge intestine, which is part of the digestive system, says the Canadian Cancer Society.

Colon screening and colon cancer are topics people may be reluctant to talk about, and Singh hopes talking about her personal situation can help others.

“It’s one of those things where you are dealing with a part of the body that people are taboo about,” he said. “Also, with the surgery one of the things that will happen is that I will have an ostomy bag for a little while. They will cut the colon and then reattach it and redirect where the stool is going to. right now, because you want them to heal. It’s probably a temporary measure. It’s a warning they’re giving you – they don’t know.

Singh is no stranger to speaking on sensitive topics, having been open about his alcoholism and recovery. After years of drinking and three solid years actively trying to get sober, he had his last drink in August 2010.

“What has helped me is hearing other people’s stories,” he said. “If I can talk about it and it helps someone get over it, then I’ve done good.”

Singh said his alcoholism journey, which includes attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, helps him navigate his cancer journey.

“It’s hard. Cancer is hard. Chemotherapy is hard, but nothing like fighting alcoholism. It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life; the most difficult thing. difficult that I will do with my life, “Singh said.” You drink against your will. In Alcoholics Anonymous they use the terms baffling, cunning – it’s a very baffling and cunning enemy in many ways. a sickness of deception He’s slowly breaking towards you.

Where cancer is recognized as a disease and garners support from others, Singh said this is often not the case with drug addiction.

“It’s a much worse disease than cancer in many ways, and it’s also deadly,” he said. “And it really is a disease. You have no control over it. It’s not an ethical or moral failure which is one of the hardest parts because society tells you it does, and it keeps you from recovering.

Singh has stated that he always encounters the “inner dialogues” associated with his alcoholism, which is why he always attends AA meetings.

“With cancer, diabetes or whatever, you don’t have that internal dialogue,” he said. “It is not a moral or ethical breach.”

Singh has said that a key part of his recovery journey is showing others there is hope for recovery – and he is looking to do the same with his latest battle.

“Hope is probably the greatest gift we have,” he said. “When I first started going to recovery meetings, AA meetings, the first thing I thought about was hope because I could see it. I could see someone with a week or a year of abstinence, and I was like, ‘OK, there is hope here. People survive. It’s the same with cancer: people survive.

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