Colorectal cancer begins when normal cells in the lining of the colon or rectum change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be benign or malignant. These changes usually take years to develop. However, when a person has a uncommon inherited syndrome, changes can occur within months to years. Both genetic and environmental factors can cause the changes. (Adapted from The American Society of Clinical Oncology-ASCO)
March 22, 2013, a press conference was called to help raise awareness of the colorectal cancer in line with the celebration of the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, March, in Intercontinental Hotel, Makati City.
Miss Felycette Gay M. Lapus, MDFPCP FPSMO, President, PSMO gave the welcome address, overview of the press conference and introduced the speakers for the day.
First was Miss Ellie May B. Villegas, MD, Medical Oncologist, and PSMO Vice President. Her talk was entitled, “Check your Colon (CRC screening and diagnosis): Put your Rear on Gear.” (CRC treatment) One of the things she discussed was the risk factors that you cannot control. The risk factors that you cannot control are:
- Age. According to Miss Ellie as she discussed, by the age of 50 and above, 1 out of 4 are affected. Risk of colorectal cancer increases as we get older, mostly those 50 years old above.
- Family History of CRC (Colorectal Cancer). This one was mentioned a lot of times during the press conference. You have a high risk of getting CRC if someone in your family members has a history of CRC. The more reason you undergo the screening. In fact, the speakers mentioned you can undergo as screening as old as 40 years old or even 20 years old if you have a family history of CRC.
As for the risk factors that you can control are:
- Smoking. Smokers has 30-40 percent of chance getting colorectal cancer.
- Physically Inactive or Obese. The speakers mentioned that most likely, people who are physically inactive, like those who don’t exercise, does a lot of sitting are more likely to have colorectal cancer.
The second speaker is Mr. Ramy Roxas, MD, Colorectal Surgeon, President of ASEAN Society of Colorectal Surgeon and Director of TMC Colorectal Clinic. “Cutting Edge” (Surgery in CRC) is his topic.
Like other types of cancers, colorectal cancer can be prevented by undergoing screening. Some people should be screened earlier because of family history, but if not, the average of people that get colorectal cancer starts at the age 50 and above. Black people are also advised to undergo screening as early as 45 years old and above because some studies shows that black people are more commonly diagnosed with CRC at a younger age.
Colorectal cancer can be prevented by Colonoscopy, Computed tomography (CT or CAT) colonography, Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (FSIG), Fecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT), Double Contrast Barium Enema. (DCBE)
The third speaker was Miss Merla Rose D. Reyes, Rph, Senior Social Insurance Specialist of Philhealth. Her topic was “Government Joining the Bowel Movement.” She discussed the Philhealth benefits for screening; which are consultation, periodic clinical breast examination, visual inspection with acetic acid and digital rectal exam.
The last speaker, and certainly not the least, a talk from the survivor herself, Prof. Diena Oroceo. Her talk was titled as “My Journey as a Survivor.” She shared her story as a survivor. And what I learned from her, and I quote what she said, “God places no favoritism. You only need to ask and it shall be given.” According to the living survivor herself, “there is life after colon cancer.”
And lastly, before the press conference ended, we had a chance to have a little open forum with the speakers.
Help spread the word. Get screened and prevent colorectal cancer. Let’s help and share the awareness. A simple sharing of this link would help. Spread the word and save lives.
View the other pictures during the event here.
** If I have time, I will post more about colorectal cancer. Most probably next week, so please keep posted.