My Take

Urge for free bowel cancer checks as Regina Ip briefly shows off her clean colon

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 August, 2015, 1:27am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 August, 2015, 1:27am

For a 65-year-old woman, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has a beautiful colon. The lawmaker and Executive Council member was so proud that she recently posted images from her colonoscopy on Facebook.

For a politician like Ip, she literally has nothing to hide. Whether such "openness" will appeal to voters is a different matter. There were some minor hiccups such as inadvertently posting her ID card number alongside the images, which have since been taken down. Put them back on, Regina, we love your colon!

It's all for a good cause. By making herself an example, she is promoting the need for regular medical checkups, especially as you enter middle age. Bowel cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cancer killer in Hong Kong. There were 4,450 new cases of colon cancer and 1,904 related deaths in 2011.

Last year, a Chinese University study found that out of 10,700 people aged 50 to 70 screened, 1,512, or 14 per cent, had pre-cancerous polyps or bowel cancer. The disturbing thing was none of the participants in the university study had undergone colon tests in the previous five years, had any symptoms of bowel cancer and they were all physically fit. Exactly 1,244 had benign polyps and 268 had tumours or colon cancer in the study.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying promised in his 2014 policy address to offer eligible people free or subsidised checks. These will have included stool sample tests and if necessary, further tests through colonoscopy. As I wrote at the time, Leung in his wisdom was offering free probes up our behinds.

Unfortunately, the programme's details have yet to be worked out. Ip should send her medical images to Leung, to remind him of his policy address promise and the urgency to fulfil it. It's literally a matter of life and death.

Liberal Party rival James Tien Pei-chun made fun of Ip's Facebook post. But hey, I dare Tien to reveal his own medical images. No? Afraid your 68-year-old colon might not look as good as Ip's?

We applaud Ip's efforts on our behalf and urge Leung to quickly get on the job of providing free medical probes.

It will save lives.