"I chose colon cancer because it's a disease that affects so many men and women in this country -- but we don't really talk about it," he continues. "This is one of the cancers that can most easily be prevented if only people will get screened. Hopefully, we can raise awareness of this with our viewers."
Rao knew he was taking a risk by having a sexy soap icon like Scorpio confront his mortality with such a decidedly unglamorous disease. But the writer feels certain this is the right away to take the character.
"The reason Robert was so compelling back in the '80s was because he was a character in motion," Rao says. "I don't believe in bringing back legacy characters and having them rest on their laurels. That's how they end up on the sidelines. And as a big fan of 'General Hospital,' that's the last thing I want to see [for Robert].
"So I wanted to bring back Robert in a very active way," he explains. "This is bigger than any WSB [spy] mission he's ever been on. Who else could take this [cancer] on but Robert Scorpio?"