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Feature:
Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer: A Personal Journey

American designer Carmen Marc Valvo is an outspoken voice for colorectal cancer screening.
Photo Courtesy of: Phil Fisch Photography

Designer Carmen Marc Valvo says “it’s always fashionable to get screened.”

Designer Carmen Marc Valvo was readying his fall collection in 2001 when he noticed something wasn’t quite right.

“I didn’t have any specific symptoms or warning signs,” Valvo says. “I usually have more energy and am so excited because I’m in the moment. I didn’t have that energy. Something was missing.”

His doctor ran a number of tests, including a colonoscopy, and discovered Valvo had colorectal cancer. It was difficult to hear his doctor tell him “there seems to be something wrong.”

Designer Carmen Marc Valvo

“If you’re a survivor, please join the chorus and share the word of how important early detection is.”
Photo Courtesy of: Phil Fisch Photography

Determined to Fight

He remembers experiencing a number of feelings that are often associated with the diagnosis. “My first emotional feeling was one of determination to rid myself of this unwanted attacker and enemy of my body and soul,” recalls Valvo, who had surgery at the time.

“To deal with the concept of cancer, I turned to gardening, specifically weeding,” Valvo says. “I was metaphorically weeding the cancer from my body with every little stalk of grass I removed from the ground. I wanted to make sure the garden flourished, so I made sure to plant new things and took delight in watching them grow.”

A proponent of talking about the disease and getting it into the open, Valvo was surprised to learn that colon cancer ran in his family. “I had no knowledge there was a history of colon cancer within my family,” Valvo says. “While discussing it with my siblings [after surgery], I discovered there were two cases of colon cancer in my family, one on my father’s side and one on my mother’s.”

Spreading the Word on Screening

Fast-forward 15 years and Valvo is healthy—his cancer is in remission. He now eagerly talks about the disease, because he wants others to know the importance of early detection.

“If you’re a survivor, please join the chorus and share the word of how important early detection is,” Valvo says. “Be an advocate for others who may not be as fortunate as we are.”

Reflecting what research has proven, Valvo’s message is clear. “Screening is so important! Early detection is early cure!”

Read More "Colorectal Cancer" Articles

Colorectal Cancer: A Personal Journey / The Importance of Early Detection / Developments in Colorectal Cancer Screening

Summer 2016 Issue: Volume 11 Number 2 Page 18