Katie Couric’s enduring love for her first husband, Jay Monahan, who died more than two decades ago from colon cancer, is a testament to the power of the mutual respect and adoration they clearly felt for each other. Now, Couric has shared a heartfelt message in honor of what would have been his 64th birthday.
The former “Today” show and “CBS Evening News” anchor, who had two daughters with Monahan, wrote, “Jay, we love you and miss you every day. [You live on] in your girls and in our hearts.” She also included a line from renowned psychiatrist and author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: “Love is really the only thing we can possess, keep with us and take with us.”
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John Paul Monahan III January 9, 1956-January 24, 1998 Jay, we love you and miss you every day. On this day, we celebrate what would have been your 64th birthday. ❤️ You completed our January trifecta of bdays…the 5th, the 7th and the 9th. There must be something cosmic about that. You live on in your girls and in our hearts. “Love is really the only thing we can possess, keep with us and take with us.” -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Couric, who founded Katie Couric Media in 2015, became a passionate health advocate after Monahan’s death. As a spokeswoman for colon cancer awareness, she famously underwent a colonoscopy on-air in March 2000. Among her other work, she co-founded the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance in 2000, and is a co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer.
She remarried in 2014, but Monahan is seemingly never far from her thoughts.
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Dear Jay…It’s June 10th 2019 and today would have been our 30th anniversary. I hope you would be proud of the way I’ve lived my life and know you’d be proud of your girls who have grown into incredible young women. I think you would like @johnmolner who honors your memory and knows there is room in my heart for you both.❤️ With love, me. PS I’m glad they didn’t let you escape in that last photo! And sorry for the pouffy hat.. I was trying to look ”jaunty.” #thenavychapel #icarryyouinmyheart
Couric has tragically had other deaths due to cancer in her family; her sister, Emily Couric, a Virginia Democratic state senator, died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 54 in 2001.
Information About Colon Cancer
Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S., according to The American Cancer Society’s estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2020 are: 104,610 new cases of colon cancer 43,340 new cases of rectal cancer
In the U.S., colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and in women, according to the ACS, and the second-most common cause of cancer deaths when men and women are combined. It’s expected to cause about 53,200 deaths during 2020
The ACS also says that “the death rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people per year) from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for several decades. There are a number of likely reasons for this. One is that colorectal polyps are now being found more often by screening and removed before they can develop into cancers or are being found earlier when the disease is easier to treat. In addition, treatment for colorectal cancer has improved over the last few decades.
“As a result, there are now more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States. Although the overall death rate has continued to drop, deaths from colorectal cancer among people younger than age 55 have increased 2% per year from 2007 and 2016.”
Dr. Zuri Murrell, a nationally recognized colorectal surgeon and director of the Cedars-Sinai Colorectal Cancer Center, talked to SurvivorNet about colon cancer screenings. There are several easy steps you can take to decrease your risk of developing colorectal cancer. The most important thing is getting a colonoscopy starting at age 45, according to the American Cancer Society. This applies to both men and women. Many colon cancers can be caught on colonoscopy even before they develop, or when the polyps are small enough to be removed without surgery. In fact, colonoscopy for screening of colon cancer is so effective that the incidence of this disease is actually decreasing.
Apart from colonoscopy, there are also lifestyle changes you can make. Chief among those is stopping any tobacco use, making sure you’re not overweight, and eating a diet with a lot of fiber which includes green vegetables, whole wheat foods, and fruits like apples and bananas.
Colon Cancer Myths
There are several myths about colon cancer, so SurvivorNet previously asked Dr. Yeo to help us clear them up. Among them:
I won’t be able to sit down after colon cancer surgery: FALSE (mostly)
Most operations for colon cancer are done through an abdominal incision, and therefore, you are going to have the most discomfort in that area. There are cancers located in the rectum that can require an operation to be done from below. However, even if this is the case, most patients are able to sit down after recovering for a few days.
Having anal sex causes colon cancer: FALSE
The act of anal intercourse does not cause colon cancer.
You don’t need to be screened for colon cancer if you have regular bowel movements and feel fine: FALSE
Many patients who develop colon cancer are asymptomatic, especially those patients with early stage disease. This is why routine colon cancer screening is recommended for all patients over the age of 50 years old (and sometimes earlier), even in patients who feel well.