Sunday, October 27, 2013

Make the Lifesaving Choice Against Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer can victimize anyone. It hits various individuals at any time, regardless of their economic statuses, culture, or education levels. This cancer does not even care if you are popular or not.

Four years ago, the Philippines lost its former president Corazon Aquino to colon cancer. According to Kris Aquino, her daughter, Madam Cory was a healthy eater and had never been sick throughout her life. Still, in December 2007, Mrs. Aquino suffered from high blood pressure, breathing difficulties and fever which then led to loss of appetite and weight. More than a year into battling the disease, the nation’s symbol of democracy succumbed to cardiorespiratory arrest on August 1, 2009.

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Madam Cory was just one of many who became victims of colon cancer. Among those who shared her fate were likewise notable personalities such as beauty queen Chat Silayan and actor Charlie Davao.

The Philippine Cancer Society reports that there are about 8,000 new cases diagnosed every year and the statistics are rising steadily. By definition, colon cancer is an illness wherein a malignant tumor develops in the colon. This growth can then spread to other vital organs, making it fatal for the body. Although not a contagious disease, colon cancer happens to be the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the Philippines and doctors have yet to discover its exact causes or why some people develop this disease while others don't.

Majority of people consider colon cancer as a disease for senior citizens, since people ages 50 and above are more likely at risk of developing it. However, it is important to remember that there are also instances where younger adults and teenagers become diagnosed. Some of the risk factors for having this medical condition include having a personal or family history of the disease, an inactive lifestyle, a low-fiber and high fat diet, and smoking habits.

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The first signs of colon cancer are blood in the stool, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, unexplained weight loss, and pain in the lower abdomen. In many cases though, patients will not show signs and symptoms of the disease during its early stages.

Nevertheless, there is still hope. Thanks to significant improvements in surgical techniques over the years, colon cancer is now 90% curable and the survival rate is high as long as the cancer is detected early.

Since colon cancer normally produces no symptoms, those at risk are advised to choose good screening tests like a colonoscopy exam to help determine the condition of the colon. The procedure involves a colonoscope used to search the entire colon for polyps, or growths on the surface that can become cancerous. By finding and removing these polyps, the chances of developing colon cancer is reduced.

This is why the necessity of colon screening cannot be emphasized enough. Regular screening can save lives from the disease, especially the lives of those who are 50 years old and above, those who have a family history, and those who experience the symptoms.

To help spread this important message, a Lifesaver advocacy campaign was launched last month through the partnership of Dulcolax, the no. 1 prescribed laxative in the country*, and Carewell Community, a non-profit foundation that provides support, education, and hope to persons affected by cancer. This campaign highlights the fact that early and regular screening can save lives. Please make sure to visit the Colon Care PH Facebook page, one of the campaign’s programs, where you can find daily information about colon cancer and tips for dealing with it.

Can you imagine if Mrs. Aquino’s cancer was discovered at an earlier time? There is a possibility that her life could have been saved and she may still be alive today. Please remember that colon cancer may strike at any time. So, in order to reduce the risk of being chosen by it, make the lifesaving choice and get yourself screened.


*PMDI (Prescription Data) IMS, YTD September 2012 USFDA Rated Class 1

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