Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Be a Lifesaver! Join Dulcolax and Carewell Community's Advocacy!

What first comes to your mind when you hear the word "cancer"? For many people, just the mention of The Big C, especially when it pertains to someone we know or love, can strike us with fear because people have always associated the dreaded medical diagnosis with dying or death.

Here in our country, I think the most common cancers we hear of are those about breast and lung. But, did you know that based on research, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the Philippines? According to the Philippine Cancer Society, recent statistics show that at least 8,000 new cases are diagnosed every year and the number is steadily increasing.

The figures may be alarming but, according to gastroenterologist-internist Dr. Jaime Ignacio, colorectal cancer is preventable and curable if detected early through screening. During a press briefing held the other night, he mentioned 4 procedures: CT colonography, flexible sigmoidoscopy, fecal occult blood testing, and colonoscopy.

Dr. Ignacio
Dr. Ignacio emphasized that colonoscopy is the best way to properly detect if a patient has inflamed tissues, ulcers, and abdominal growths. This is a medical procedure wherein the entire colon and rectum are examined using a colonoscope. It has the capacity to remove polyps in the colon, which can significantly reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. "Emphasis should be for colorectal cancer prevention rather than detection," he stressed.

Unfortunately, not many Filipinos are aware that this procedure is available to them. Some think that they should only have it done when they get old or if their doctor tells them to, which could be too late especially if the patient is predisposed to having CRC.

Whether you live in Metro Manila or outside of it, the expertise in colonoscopy is widespread in the Philippines so there's no excuse not to undergo it if you are already past 40. People of this age and above are said to be more susceptible to acquiring the disease. Dr. Ignacio shared that there are now over 400 certified doctors all over the country who can perform the procedure.

With these lifesaving facts in mind, Bisacodyl (Dulcolax) and Carewell Community partnered to create an advocacy campaign called Lifesaver.

"Dulcolax, the number one prescribed laxative in our country, is generally known to provide effective relief for constipation sufferers. But what most Filipinos don't know is that it is also used for colon screenings," said Ms. Jo-Ann Ramos, Dulcolax Brand Manager. She expressed that they wanted to tie up with a group whose sole purpose is to help those afflicted or affected by the dreaded disease and  Carewell Community became their answer.

Carewell is a non-profit foundation that provides support, education, and hope to persons with cancer and their loved ones. "It is a fitting partnership to help save lives. We saw it as a great opportunity to increase colon cancer awareness. The objective is really just to make people aware that they should get screened early on to prevent or detect [the illness]. With the Lifesaver partnership, we can all be lifesavers," she encouraged.

Jo-Ann Ramos and Melly Guerrero of Boehringer Ingelheim
In the coming months, Lifesaver will be rolling out various programs to effectively spread the lifesaving message to as many people as possible. It will also be conducting a series of presentations in different hospitals to gain support from doctors to encourage people at risk to get screened. Another key program is the sale of Bisacodyl (Dulcolax) Lifesaver packs of which portions of the proceeds will go to sponsored colonoscopies.

Dr. Ignacio, who specializes in digestive endoscopy as well as liver and abdominal diseases, presently heads the Digestive Malignancy Council of the Philippine Society of Gastroenterology. He advocates to raise public awareness for the early detection of colon and various digestive cancers. 

Help spread the Lifesaver message and save lives by sharing the link of this blog post to your loved ones who are already over 40 years old. You may also know more about CRC and colonoscopy by visiting and liking

* Thanks for the use of the photos :) If you were present during the press con, check if you have your picture in this Facebook album

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