Colon Cancer does not choose its victims. It can hit anyone at any time, regardless of economic status, culture or education level. It does not even care if you are famous or not.
4 years ago, the country lost former president Corazon Aquino to colon cancer. Her daughter Kris Aquino stated that she was a healthy eater and had never been sick throughout her life. Despite that, around December 2007, Cory suffered from high blood pressure, breathing difficulties and fever which then led to loss of appetite and weight. After battling the disease for more than a year, the nation’s symbol of democracy died of cardiorespiratory arrest on August 1, 2009.
Cory Aquino was just one of the many who fell victim to colon cancer. Other notable personalities with the same fate were beauty queen Chat Silayan and actor Charlie Davao.
According to the Philippine Cancer Society, around 8,000 new cases are diagnosed every year and are steadily increasing.
By definition, colon cancer is an illness wherein a malignant tumor develops in the colon. This tumor or growth may spread to other vital organs, rendering it fatal for the body. It may not be a contagious disease but it happens to be the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country. Doctors have yet to discover its exact causes or why some develop this disease while others don’t.
The majority see colon cancer as an old man’s disease, since people ages 50 and above are more likely at risk of developing it. It is important to note though, that there are instances where younger adults and teenagers are also diagnosed. Risk factors include having a personal or family history of the disease, an inactive lifestyle, a low-fiber and high fat diet, and smoking habits.
The initial indicators of colon cancer are blood in the stool, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, unexplained weight loss and pain in the lower abdomen. However, in many cases, the disease chooses not to show its signs and symptoms during the early stages.
Nevertheless, there is still hope. Due to significant improvements in surgical techniques over the years, colon cancer is now 90% curable. The survival rate is high as long as the cancer is detected early.
Since colon cancer usually produces no symptoms, choosing good screening tests like a colonoscopy exam can help determine the condition of the colon. In this procedure, a colonoscope is used to search the entire colon for polyps, or growths on the surface that can become cancerous. Finding and removing these polyps may reduce the chances of developing colon cancer.
That is why the importance 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 in spreading this important message, a Lifesaver advocacy campaign was launched by 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. The campaign highlights the fact that early and regular screening can save lives. Those concerned can visit the Colon Care PH Facebook page, which is one of the campaign’s programs. Here, you can find daily information about colon cancer and tips for dealing with it.
Imagine if Cory Aquino’s cancer was discovered at an earlier time. It’s possible that her life would have been saved and she may still be alive today.
Indeed, colon cancer may strike at any time. That’s why in order to reduce the risk of being chosen by it, you must make the lifesaving choice and get yourself screened.
*PMDI (Prescription Data) IMS, YTD September 2012 USFDA Rated Class 1