Early Detection and Screening are the Best Ways to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

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It has claimed the lives of famous and powerful people – from local and Hollywood stars, to politicians, models, etc. The fact that they succumbed to this deadly disease is proof that colon cancer does not discriminate between rich and poor, young and old or male and female.

And despite the media exposure it has been getting lately, the number of colon cancer patients continue to rise. In 2008, it has caused 608,000 and experts say this number will continue to grow in the coming years. To date, colon cancer is now the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths globally.

However daunting the scenario may be, there are ways to prevent colon cancer.  Awareness, prevention, early detection and screening are the main weapons against this menacing disease.  Fortunately, cost-effective care for colorectal problems is easily accessible at Colorectal Specialists, Inc., (CSI) located at the MediCard Lifestyle Center.

CSI is the only specialty clinic in the country where colorectal surgeons are grouped together to offer outpatient clinic services.  It is at the forefront of colorectal care in the Philippines, utilizing a multi-disciplinary team approach of management.  This means that it’s not only the surgeon who decides or recommends what a patient needs.  The medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and other specialties like palliative care are involved.  CSI at the MediCard Lifestyle Center offers state-of-the-art treatment options for haemorrhoids like rubber band ligation, stapled hemorrhoidopexy and tran-anal hemorrhoidal dearterialization or THD.

“We deal with all kinds of colorectal pathology, from benign to malignant cysts, even anorectal, which means from the anus to the anal canals including haemorrhoids, fistula, fissures, incontinence, constipation and of course colon diseases like infections, inflammations and cancers,” says Dr. Carlo Angelo Cajucom, one of four colorectal surgeons in CSI.

Dr. Cajucom earned his medical degree from the University of Santo Tomas and did his general surgery residency at Quirino Memorial Medical Center.  He then had his fellowship training in colorectal surgery at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, as well as post fellowship training in Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Dr. Cajucom underscores the importance of early detection of signs and symptoms so patients can easily be diagnosed and treated before the disease becomes advanced.  This is especially important in a country like the Philippines, where the majority of patients are diagnosed in the very late stages and where there is no screening.  Unlike countries like the US or Australia, the Philippines does not have a screening program. 

Dr. Cajucom adds that people who belong to the general risk population, meaning those who are not predisposed to having colorectal cancer, must have themselves screened at age 50, every three to five years.  Those at high risk must undergo screening at least upon reaching 40 or 10 years before.

“Supposing you have a relative who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer at 38 years old, then you must have yourself screened at 28 years old,” explains Dr. Cajucom.  He adds that those who are extremely high risk must be screened as early as 10 – 12 years old.    

Dr. Cajucom notes that people should watch out for the following risk factors for colorectal cancer: strong family history or genetics, aging, low fiber intake and those who like to eat grilled or red meat.  He adds that the symptoms to watch out for include abdominal pain, fecal blood, and difficulty in defecation.

More than being mindful of the risks, Dr. Cajucom encourages people not to feel embarrassed to seek medical attention in case they experience symptoms of colorectal disease.  After all, the stigma won’t help anyone recover from cancer.

To know more about colorectal diseases and how you can prevent or cure them, visit Colorectal Specialists, Inc. at the MediCard Lifestyle Center, 51 Paseo de Roxas corner Buendia Avenue, Makati City from Mondays through Fridays, 1-7 pm and Saturdays from 9 am – 3 pm. You may also call them 555-0832.  Equally competent doctors in the said facility include Dr. Catherine Co, Dr. Dione Sacdalan and Dr. Ancoy Lopez.

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