What You Need To Know To Beat Colorectal Cancer


Did you know that colorectal cancer ranks 3rd in the Philippines? Lung cancer, breast cancer are the top two cancers while liver cancer takes the fourth spot. The Medical City's Colorectal Clinic and the Cancer Institute is takes an active role in its advocacy to increase the Filipinos awareness and beat colorectal cancer (CRC). In celebration of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a symposium was held last March 2 and I was fortunate to be invited again. I am sharing with you what you need to know about colorectal cancer and what you can do to beat it.

What is colorectal cancer? 

Colon cancer is the cancer affecting the large intestine (colon), which is the lower part of the digestive system. Rectal cancer is the cancer affecting the last 12 centimeters of the colon. Together, they are referred to as colorectal cancer.

Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, non-cancerous clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Some of these polyps may become cancer. These polyps may sometimes not show any symptoms.

FACT: A polyp may take about 10 years to develop into cancer.

Who are at risk of colorectal cancer?

  • 90 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50 years.
  • family history of colorectal cancer 
  • personal history of CRC or advanced polyps
  • pre-existing diseases involving long-term inflammation of the colon
  • lifestyle factors such as diet associated with low in fiber and high in fat, calories, red meat and processed food
  • diabetes
  • obesity and sedentary lifestyle
  • smoking 
  • alcohol intake

Why should you get screened for colorectal cancer?

Many cases of colorectal cancer do not manifest any symptoms. That is why it is highly recommended for people who are 50 years old and those who are high risk to undergo screening. The earlier the cancer is detected, the higher the chance to beat colorectal cancer.

With proper screening, colon cancer can be detected BEFORE the development of symptoms, when it is most curable.

How does one know if one has colon cancer?

  • recent changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation
  • blood in the stool
  • persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
  • abdominal pain with a bowel movement
  • a feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely
  • unexplained anemia
  • weakness or fatigue
  • weight loss with no known reason
  • narrow or thin stool

What are the screening methods available?

  1. Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) yearly. If positive, a colonoscopy is required.
  2. Colonoscopy every 10 years
  3. Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) yearly with flexible sigmoidoscopy every three years
  4. Virtual CT Colography every three to five years

How much does colonoscopy cost?

Colonoscopy at The Medical City costs around 20,000 pesos. 

For more information, call Colorectal Clinic at (632) 988-7000 local 7789