This March, the world is celebrating the “Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Awareness Month.”And it is a perfect time for all of us to know more about this 3rd most common cancer disease in the Philippines. My father died of cancer (relatable to pancreas and colon) since I was 16 and he could have fought it earlier if he had a healthy lifestyle and screening. That’s one big of a mistake. And for this generation, some people are creating that same mistake by not being aware of the beauty of “Colorectal Cancer Screening .” That the earlier the screening process, the earlier you can get away with it.
That’s why for this month, The Colorectal Unit of Medical City aims to be the forefront in Filipinos achieving to beat colorectal cancer. They want to spread awareness to people about how “Colorectal Cancer Screening” can save lives and reduce the CRC risk by as high as 70 percent. They also plan to educate the general public and mobilize the health community to beat colorectal cancer.
Wanna know more about Colorectal Cancer? Here are some facts about it:
Almost all of these cancers start as abnormal growths in the lining of the colon and rectum called polyps. These polyps grow slowly and take around 10 years for some polyps to develop into cancer. Not all polyps progress to cancer, but the removal of these polyps can reduce the risk of developing cancer.
What are some symptoms:
1. Abdominal Pain
2. Rectal bleeding
3. Weight loss
What are the risk factors for Colorectal Cancer?
1. Age greater than 50 (above, as 90% of occurring after the age of 50)
2. Personal history of colorectal cancer or advanced polyps
3. The family history of CRC
4. Pre-existing diseases involving long-term inflammation of the colon.
Yes, you might be young and healthy at this moment, but there are also lifestyle factors that can trigger colorectal cancer:
1. Cigarette smoking
2. Alcohol consumption
4. A diet that has high saturated fat, low fiber, and high red meat consumption.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. As young as you are, you can do something about it by SIMPLY living a healthy lifestyle (avoid smoking, not consuming excessive alcohol), exercise regularly, and eating the right food lowers your risk for emphysema, cirrhosis of the liver, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease. And ultimately, it can lower the chance of risk of cancer in the colon and rectum.
But how will you really know that you’re safe with this disease if you’re NOT WILLING TO BE SCREENED? At the Medical City, the gold standard for CRC screening is a colonoscopy as it can detect and remove early lesions like polyps. The procedure involves a flexible fiberoptic scope with a camera that is inserted through the rectum and is carefully advanced to visualize the colon under mild anesthesia. However, it is an invasive test and has potential to cause complications (bleeding, puncturing the color).
Some patients may not want to have a colonoscopy because they find the cost is expensive. Don’t worry guys because Medical City has one alternative for CRC screening that uses stool called “Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)”. FIT detects only human blood and is specific for bleeding in the colon. Persons who have positive FIT are 12 to 40 times likely to harbor cancer than those with a negative test. The test is repeated every year if the initial test is negative but if it is positive, a colonoscopy is still needed to rule out the presence of cancer.
You may hear all these things, but a shared-decision between patient and his doctor is very crucial by undergoing either method of CRC screening, to able to beat colorectal cancer. It’s up to you and the excellence of your doctor that can make an end with CRC.
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. You can also contact them at #988-1000 local 7789.