Early Colorectal Screening can save lives

by - March 07, 2018

Most people, when they hear the word cancer, feel as if a death sentence is handed to them. This is true especially for those who finds out that they are already in the last stages of the disease. If only they found out about the cancer earlier, can they still find cure? There are certain cancer when screen early, one can still be saved. One example is the colorectal cancer.

With colorectal cancer as the third most commonly diagnosed in both men and women, including both cancer of the colon and rectum, it ia high time that a most up to date dissemination of knowledge should be known. 

In observance of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month,  the Medical City (TMC) kicked off the observance with a medical symposium for lay people. The objective was to provide more people with a better understanding of colorectal cancer and create awareness about the importance of early detection and cure.

Held recently at the Augusto Barcelon Auditorium, the forum titled “Colorectal Cancer Screening and Management: What, How and Why?” gathered doctors from TMC to promote and talk about the value of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. The message was clear -- that cancer screening can save lives, but the fact remains that many do not know about it.

At present, colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the Philippines overtaking liver cancer, with breast and lung cancer being the most prevalent, according to data released by the Philippine Cancer Society back in 2015. It is also the third most common cancer in the world, with more than 1.4 million cases reported. Factors that may increase the risk of getting colon ccancer include age (50 years old and above), inflammatory intestinal conditions, a family history of colon cancer, a low-fiber high fat diet and a sedentary lifestyle.

In his talk “Colorectal Cancer: Why we screen, Who we screen, and How we screen,” Dr. Atenodoro Marciano “Jun” Ruiz, a gastroenterologist and consultant at TMC, said that aside from early detection of symptoms through colonoscopy or stool test, it is also best to keep a healthy lifestyle through exercise and proper diet. “Colon cancer is preventable and treatable, especially when diagnosed early. It can be beaten,” Dr. Ruiz emphasized.

Dr. Marie Dione Sacdalan, in her talk “When the Gut gets Clogged: Surgery for Colorectal Cancer,” said that surgery remains to be top treatment choice for colorectal cancer. “It is through surgery that the chances for survival increase, of course depending on the condition of the patient in terms of handling the stress of a surgery. It is best that the doctor and the patient discuss everything prior to surgery.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Josephine Tolentino discussed “Facts, Myths and Fallacies about Chemotherapy” another known cancer treatment option. There have been many improvements in chemotherapy which should not scare people anymore. She cited as well TMC’s Chemotherapy Unit and its highly trained staff of nurses and doctors who administer chemotherapy. “There are now several advancements in cancer treatment technology not just to increase cancer survival rates but achieve quality of life. There is no need to be scared or worried about chemotherapy, contrary to several earlier notions.”

Dr. Katherine Therese Bundalian, in her discussion “Colorectal Risk Factors and Prevention,” said it is very important to spread awareness about the risk factors of cancer like lifestyle and diet, coupled with screening for early detection, lower the risk of colon cancer.

One of the most awaited lectures during the symposium, however, was that of Dr. Enrique “Eric” Tayag, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health (DOH). In his talk “Explore a Service Delivery Network Model for Colorectal Cancer,” Dr. Tayag lamented that the country’s health system is fragmented, which results in poor access to health services. “There should be an effective service delivery network that can be achieved through collaboration in order to provide people with the proper medical services, whether they are in the urban or rural areas.”

He said the service delivery network can also work for colorectal cancer, where cancer can be prevented, screened, and treated. He called for the creation of service delivery networks in the provinces where doctors, hospitals, clinics, health workforce, services they provide and their equipment, will be included in a registry so that patients are assured of effective delivery of medical services. “We are also looking at using wireless communications technology where medical advice can be done virtually or online.”

Overall, Dr. Manuel Roxas, Chairman of the Department of Surgery of TMC and co-Director of the TMC Augusto P. Sarmiento Cancer Institute said that colorectal cancer, despite all the risk factors associated with it, is definitely screenable, curable and treatable. “The treatment should have a system; treatment should not be just going to one doctor anymore but a whole team. At TMC, we’re trying to develop a model of treatment that other cancer treatments can follow.”

For more information on Colorectal Screening visit  Colorectal Clinic at TMC. Check website www.medicalcity.com or Follow their Facebook at www.facebook.com/themedicalcity.

The Medical City is located along Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City

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