DOH, SPMC raise colorectal cancer awareness

DOH, SPMC raise colorectal cancer awareness

THE Department of Health (DOH) and the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) collaborated to raise awareness about colorectal cancer causes and symptoms during the Kapihan sa Dabaw at SM Ecoland on Monday morning, March 25, 2024.

Dr Robert B. Bandolin, the SPMC consultant and section head of colon and rectal surgery, said that tumors and cancers are common in the large intestine, or colon, with bleeding being a key indication.

"Bleeding might be fresh if naa sa left ang cancer or dark if sa right side (Bleeding might be fresh if the cancer is on the left side or dark if it's on the right side)," he said.

Colon cancers typically develop from polyps, which may be benign or malignant. If left untreated, they can progress to cancer, leading to severe consequences.

"Yung polyp na yan pag maliit usually wala yang symptoms, wala ka talagang mararamdam kay gamay man kaayo na siya. Some might have a little pero dili kaayo common (Polyps are usually small and don't cause symptoms because of their size. Some may experience minor symptoms, but it's uncommon)," the doctor explained.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer can also include changes in bowel movements, such as difficulty in defecating and a constant sensation of discharge.

Regarding whether irregular defecation can cause colorectal problems, Bandolin clarified that while many hold misconceptions about this, irregular defecation is not the primary cause but can be a symptom.

He also said that genetics, particularly family history, significantly influence the risk of colon cancer. However, most cases occur sporadically.

"With all these things na nakapalibot sa atoa, fast food, preservatives, those are probably the factors that you get. Smoking of course and alcohol consumption as well (Factors such as fast food, preservatives, smoking, and alcohol consumption are likely contributors)," he said.

According to 2022 data from the World Health Organization (WHO), colorectal cancer ranks as the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths, claiming 608,000 lives worldwide. WHO recommends individuals aged 45 and above undergo colonoscopy to detect and prevent the development of polyps. Kassandra Ysabelle Quijano, HCDC Intern


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