Colon cancer has certainly become a real concern in the Philippines. The growing number of incidence and mortality worldwide have put the disease as the third most common type of cancer for both men and women men, after lung and breast cancers, said Dr. Frederick Dy, Gastrointestinal Oncologist and a leading expert in Endoscopy.
This was revealed by gastroenterology experts from the Philippine Society of Gastroenterology, at a media conference at the Manila Diamond Hotel last February 22 held to raise awareness about Filipino about colon cancer, urging them to get screened for the said disease. Westmont Pharmaceuticals, a division of Unilab, partners with PSG, in building consciousness for colon cancer, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatments available for Filipinos.
Colon cancer is a cancer that occurs in the colon or the rectum. The colon is the large intestine. The rectum is the passageway connecting the colon to the anus. Colon cancer doesn’t begin as cancer immediately, it starts as small polyps that grow in size over time.
Any person is at risk for colon cancer when they are more than 50 years old, genetics/family history of cancer and unhealthy lifestyle (drinking alcohol, drugs, smoking and obesity).
Sudden weight loss, blood in the stool, unexplained anemia, change in bowel habits or even abdominal pain are some most common symptoms for Colon cancer. If you have any of these problems, it should be automatic to see a doctor. Don’t neglect it!
As the over-used phrase goes “Prevention is better than cure”. Colon cancer is a preventable disease. It usually starts as polyps that becomes bigger and spread over time. Early detection and removal of these polyps can prevent the development of colon cancer.
Several screening tests for colon cancer are available here in our country:
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FIT). Is a test that checks the stool for blood, which is one of the symptoms of colon cancer. If the test is positive, then a colonoscopy is required.
Colonoscopy. A colonoscope is a long, thin, instrument with a camera at the tip. It is inserted at the rectum and pushed up to the end of the colon. It allows direct visualization of the rectum and colon. It can also remove polyps and obtain biopsy samples from masses found in the colon.
Barium Enema. Is a series of x-rays of the large intestine. A dye (barium) is inserted into the rectum to allow better visualization of the area.
Virtual Colonoscopy. It is a test that uses a CT scan machine to take picture of the colon and rectum.
Colon cancer is preventable for as long the patients involves himself as much as possible in its prevention by ensuring a healthy lifestyle, and regularly going for medical check-ups, even before turning 50.
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