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Filipina stays positive despite being diagnosed with colon cancer

07 August 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao

Hogan keeps up a brave face despite being diagnosed with colon cancer

A Filipina domestic helper who was bothered by nagging stomach pain and blood excretion in the past two weeks has been diagnosed to be suffering from colon cancer following two examinations at Ruttonjee Hospital in Wanchai.

Airene Hogan, 33, said Friday evening that after going through a computerized tomography scan, or CT scan earlier, her attending physician told her that she has colon cancer.

She said she will next undergo magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, examination on a still unknown date.


The patient was upbeat after her doctor said her condition is curable but “will be done step by step.”

“Think positive lang po. Hindi po ako nag-iisip ng kung anu-ano,” Hogan said when asked about how she was feeling after the check-ups. 

A few days ago, the young mother of two inquired from fellow Filipinos in a post on the Facebook page of DWC Help Group where she could find the cheapest medical clinic in Hong Kong for a check-up. She disclosed her health condition.

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Members of the group who read her post showered the worker with messages of recovery and encouragement. Many told her she should go to a public hospital so that she’d pay only the registration fee.

Hogan said she had asked her employer of six months if she could go for a medical check-up, and the employer suggested that she wait until her rest day this Monday.

Pindutin para sa detalye

But the employer allowed her to see a doctor last Monday when Hogan told her she was already weak and could not work well as she was in pain and was losing a lot of blood.

Around 5pm on Monday, she went to Ruttonjee. The doctor who attended to her told her she must be admitted for a thorough examination that would include colonoscopy, CT scan and MRI.


The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration got in touch with Hogan after being told about her situation. Welfare Attache Virsie Tamayao said OWWA staff Josz Villa, who is a registered nurse, will monitor the patient’s condition.

Hogan shares her photo at work at past midnight in her previous employer's house.

Months ago, Hogan complained in a post on the DWC Help Group’s Facebook page about working until 1am, or as long as her former employers were awake, and then waking up early to prepare their breakfast. 

She also said she had to provide for her own breakfast, and only got a bowl of congee for lunch and another for dinner from her employers.


“Kapag nagluto po ako ng mga karne, kaunti lang binibigay. Kung isda naman, buntot at ulo. Kung chicken wings naman lutuin ko, bibigyan ako ng dalawa,” Hogan said, to explain why she was always hungry and fatigued. (If I cooked meat, they gave me just a little. If I cooked fish, they gave me the head and tail. If I cooked chicken wings, they gave me two pieces.)


When she finally found the courage to complain to her boss a year and seven months into her two-year contract, she was fired.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

Under her present employer, Hogan said she gets sufficient rest and doesn’t go hungry. But the impact of her experience in her previous employer’s house still haunted her.
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