Colorectal cancer curable if detected earlyBy Charles E. Buban
Philippine Daily Inquirer
According to the most recent estimates, colorectal cancer—cancer that develops in the colon or the rectum—is the third most common cancer in men (663,000 cases, 10 percent of the total) and the second in women (571,000 cases, 9.4 percent of the total) worldwide.
Over 600,000 deaths from colorectal cancer are estimated occurring annually worldwide, accounting for 8 percent of all cancer deaths, making it the fourth most common cause of death from cancer.
With at least 8,000 new cases being diagnosed every year in the Philippines, colorectal cancer is now the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country, according to the Philippine Cancer Society.
However, not many Filipinos knew that if found in its early stages, colorectal cancer is one of the most curable of cancers (this type of cancer usually develops over many years and has a long precancerous stage).
“However, not many Filipinos knew that regular colorectal cancer screening or testing is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colorectal cancer. Although considered an older man’s disease, colorectal cancer could strike anyone at any time. This is why we teamed up with Cancer Resource and Wellness (Carewell) Community, an organization that is helping those afflicted or affected by this dreadful disease, in providing support, education and hope to persons with cancer and their loved ones. It is a fitting partnership to help save lives,” said Jo-Ann Ramos, brand manager of Dulcolax (Bisacodyl).
Dulcolax together with Carewell Community formed an advocacy campaign called Lifesaver (facebook.com/ColonCarePH), which aims to promote the importance of colorectal cancer screening, as well as to engage both public and health care professionals in raising awareness on colon cancer.
“We saw it as a great opportunity to increase colorectal cancer awareness. The objective is really just to make people aware that they should get screened early on to prevent or detect presence of the disease. With the Lifesaver partnership, we can all be lifesavers,” said Ramos who added that the Facebook page will become a dedicated digital folio that shares information and tips about colonoscopy, colon cancer and colon wellness in general.
In addition, Lifesaver will conduct a series of presentations in various hospitals to gain support from medical practitioners to encourage people at risk to get screened. This presentations are aimed particularly at people who have reached the age of 40 and above.
“Those reaching this age bracket is more susceptible to acquiring the disease. The campaign has tapped experienced gastroenterologists like Dr. Jaime Ignacio, who has been actively conducting lectures to both medical and lay communities,” said Ramos.
According to Robert “Bobbit” Suntay, managing director of the Carewell Community, his organization believes in the importance of cancer prevention, going for regular testing, resulting in early detection and treatment. “Having a colonoscopy is essential to this, and this is where Lifesaver comes in. We are one with Dulcolax in providing early detection and helping save lives of many people from colon cancer.”
A colonoscopy is a procedure in which the inside of the large intestine (colon and rectum) is examined especially if the patient experiences rectal and intestinal bleeding, abdominal pain, recent unexplained weight loss, feelings of incomplete stool evacuation, anemia or pallor, and generalized body weakness or changes in bowel habits.
However, colonoscopies are also advised to individuals who exhibit no symptoms but may already have precancerous polyps, an early sign of the cancer. A screening is also strongly recommended for anyone 50 years of age and older, and for anyone with parents, siblings or children with a history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
As part of the Lifesaver campaign, a number of leading drugstores nationwide will be selling Dulcolax Lifesaver packs, according to Ramos. He said: “Dulcolax, being the No. 1 prescribed laxative in our country, is generally known to provide effective relief for constipation sufferers. But what most Filipinos don’t know is that it is also used for colon screenings.” Ramos added that a portion of the proceeds from the Lifesaver pack will go to sponsored colonoscopies.