TMC specialists air concern over colorectal cancer in PHL

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    CLARK FREEPORT – Specialists from The Medical City (TMC) aired here yesterday concern over statistics showing that colorectal cancer had become the third leading killer ailment among men and the fourth among women in the Philippines.

    “This is unfortunate because colorectal cancer is easily preventable if detected early enough,” said Dr. Manuel Francisco Roxas, colorectal surgeon and head of TMC Main Colorectal Clinic.

    Members of the TMC’s colorectal multi-disciplinary team (MDT), headed by Roxas, held here yesterday a press conference as part of marking Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, amid global statistics showing the Philippines with a higher colorectal cancer mortality compared to other countries.”

    Roxas urged people over 50 to undergo colorectal screening, stressing that “with good screening and early diagnosis, 90 percent of colorectal cancers are curable.”

    He said that at the TMC, such screening could be done through “fecal occult blood test” (FOBT) which cost only P285.

    “This test should be done every year after age 50. Another option is to undergo colonoscopy every five to 10 years.

    Those with strong family history of colorectal cancer or those with two or more family members who had the disease should be screened earlier, ideally 10 years before the age of diagnosis of their relatives,” he said.

    Dr. William Olalia, a surgeon, explained that colorectal cancer usually starts as polyps either in the large intestines which normally measures a meter long or the rectum which is normally five inches long.

    Roxas urged people aged over 50 to undergo screening despite lack of symptoms, noting that polyps which develop in the intestine or rectal area normally develops into cancer in 10 years yet.

    “Most colorectal cancers start as abnormal growths in the lining of the colon and rectum called polyps. These polyps grow slowly and take around 10 years to develop into cancer. Not all polyps develop into cancer. The removal of these polyps reduces the risk of developing cancer,” he explained.

    He said that for those with possible symptoms, such as blood in stool or sudden loss of weight, diagnosis via colonoscopy would be best. “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,” he added.

    Roxas noted that TMC-Clark has facilities for these procedures.

    He also noted that TMC here is also open to PhilHealth members, even as his team downplayed impressions that TMC is more costly than other local hospitals.

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