A Cebu-based cancer center urged the public to undergo early screening to fight colorectal cancer.
The Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center (EJACC) of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) also advised the people to observe a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise and maintenance of a well-balanced diet.
EJACC urged the public to take this counsel seriously as the country celebrates Colorectal Awareness Month in March.
Colorectal cancer, a disease in which cells in the colon or rectum become abnormal and divide without control, forming a mass called a tumor, is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths among Cebuanos, based on the Cancer Registry of EJACC.
The Metro Cebu Population-based Cancer Registry of EJACC recorded 653 cases in 1998-2002 and 364 reported who have died of it. In the year 2002-2007 the Cancer Registry recorded an increased number of reported cases in Metro Cebu—862 cases were reported and 489 cases died of the disease.
Individuals age 40 and above, who have a sedentary lifestyle, who are eating high fat and low fiber diet, who have family and medical history of the disease, and who have polyps and ulcerative colitis, face high risk of acquiring colorectal cancer.
“The most important thing to know about colorectal cancer is that it often exists without any symptoms. This is why regular screening is very important. Regular screening can detect polyps at an early state before cancer develops or when it is most curable,” Ronald delos Reyes, EJACC program coordinator, said.
He also pointed out that the colon and rectum, which comprise the large intestine, are vital in turning liquid stool into formed fecal matter.
Colorectal cancer is characterized by a change in bowel movements, blood in the stools, abdominal discomforts, unexplained appetite and weight loss, fatigue, and pelvic pain in the later stage.
Diagnostic procedures in detecting colorectal cancer include fecal occult blood test, rectosigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, irigography, virtual colonoscopy, fecal DNA test, and double contrast barium enema. The disease may be treated through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
“The disease could be prevented by being health conscious and submitting to regular screenings,” Delos Reyes said.
For more information about colorectal cancer, please contact EJACC at 254-6351 and look for Gina Mariquit.