TUCSON – According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and this year it is expected to claim over 51,000 lives.
Despite those ominous statistics, the number of deaths continues to decline every year. But, for people under fifty, the rate is actually climbing.
At the age of 32, Matt Moore was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. The diagnosis came too late to save his life and his widow, Nikki Moore, is now on a mission to spread awareness about colon cancer, a disease her husband might have survived if he had known about it sooner.
It was a union they thought would last forever, Matt and Nikki married, both started businesses, a baby on the way. However, after experiencing alarming symptoms Matt went to see his doctor.
“The doctor said I think you have hemorrhoids, you’re too young to have anything else and Matt was reluctant to accept that and felt like is there an additional test I can take to just really rule that in or out, and so they scheduled him for a colonoscopy”, said Moore. “On Dec. 8, 2015, they, to the surprise and shock of his doctors, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, it was stage 4.”
After hearing the devastating news, Matt discovered he had a history of colon cancer in his family and that he had probably started the early stages in his twenties. The Moore’s then focused on Matt getting better. At the time Nikki was already far along in her pregnancy, their child about to arrive and their world suddenly turned upside down.
“Matt started chemotherapy on Feb. 5, 2016”, said Moore, “And nine days later, I gave birth to our son, Cullen.”
Matt would fight for his life for the next 14 months, losing the battle on April 25, 2017. Nikki says through it all, Matt never stopped loving and living his life. He even started an apparel company called Live Moore to inspire people to live life to the fullest and to also raise awareness about cancer that would take his life.
“The week before he passed away he asked me to continue on Live Moore”, said Moore. “And to continue on the message to inspire others to live life to the fullest and to live more in addition to raise colon cancer awareness.
Nikki has kept her promise continuing to grow the Live Moore apparel company and is now teaming up with the Colon Cancer Coalition for the organization’s get your rear in gear 5-K Walk/Run happening on Feb. 24 at Omni Tucson National.
Proceeds from the event will go to the El Rio Health Clinic Foundation to purchase colon cancer mail-in kits and to provide colonoscopies for qualified patients. Executive Director, Brenda Goldsmith, said no matter what your age, it’s important to get tested.
“When you choose to do preventive screenings, you are choosing to be here for as long as you can to be there for your family”, said Goldsmith, “And these screenings save lives.”
Nikki Moore believes if they had been more aware of the disease, Matt might still be here today.
“If only we would have known the symptoms of colon cancer”, said Moore. “If only we would have known Matt’s family history then perhaps Matt could have taken a step back and realized that this symptom is connected to colon cancer and there is a family history and I should have gone to the doctor sooner.”
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Symptoms of the disease include a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, blood in your stool, abdominal pain, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss. If you experience these symptoms see your doctor no matter what your age.
For information on how you can be a part of the “Get Your Rear In Gear Walk/Run” click here and then sign up to join the News 4 Tucson team.
For more information on Live Moore, click here.