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TMC kicks off Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month with medical symposium

The Medical City (TMC) kicked off celebrations in observance of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month with a medical symposium for lay people. The objective was to provide more people with a better understanding of colorectal cancer and create awareness about the importance of early detection and cure.

Held recently at the Augusto Barcelon Auditorium, the forum titled “Colorectal Cancer Screening and Management: What, How and Why?” gathered doctors from TMC to promote and talk about the value of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. The message was clear—that cancer screening can save lives.

At present, colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the Philippines overtaking liver cancer, with breast and lung cancer being the most prevalent, according to data released by the Philippine Cancer Society back in 2015. It is also the third most common cancer in the world, with more than 1.4 million cases reported. Factors that may increase the risk of getting colon cancer include age (50 years old and above), inflammatory intestinal conditions, a family history of colon cancer, a low-fiber high fat diet and a sedentary lifestyle.

In his talk “Colorectal Cancer: Why we screen, Who we screen, and How we screen,” Dr. Atenodoro Marciano “Jun” Ruiz, a gastroenterologist and consultant at TMC, said that aside from early detection of symptoms through colonoscopy or stool test, it is also best to keep a healthy lifestyle through exercise and proper diet”, he emphasized.

Dr. Marie Dione Sacdalan, in her talk “When the Gut gets Clogged: Surgery for Colorectal Cancer,” said that surgery remains to be top treatment choice for colorectal cancer.

Meanwhile, Dr. Josephine Tolentino discussed “Facts, Myths and Fallacies about Chemotherapy” another known cancer treatment option. There have been many improvements in chemotherapy which should not scare people anymore.

One of the most awaited lectures during the symposium, however, was that of Dr. Enrique “Eric” Tayag, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health (DOH). In his talk “Explore a Service Delivery Network Model for Colorectal Cancer,” Dr. Tayag lamented that the country’s health system is fragmented, which results in poor access to health services. “There should be an effective service delivery network that can be achieved through collaboration in order to provide people with the proper medical services, whether they are in the urban or rural areas.”

Overall, Dr. Manuel Roxas, Chairman of the Department of Surgery of TMC and co-Director of the TMC Augusto P. Sarmiento Cancer Institute said that colorectal cancer, despite all the risk factors associated with it, is definitely screenable, curable and treatable.

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