Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wellness Wednesdays: Colorectal Cancer

If you have been reading my posts about our father, you would know that my father has Stage 2 colorectal cancer and as this is Wellness Wednesday, I would like to blog about colorectal cancer.  This is a familial or hereditary disease meaning, if an immediate family member has/had it, you can have it too so it is better to be prepared by learning more about this disease.  March is also Colon and Rectal Cancer Awareness Month.

As is always the case healthwise, prevention is cure.  According to the Philippine Cancer Society Website,

"Colorectal Cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the Philippines and the number steadily increases because less focus is given to this cancer as compared to that of Lung and Breast Cancer."

According to Wikipedia, colorectal cancer is a cancer from uncontrolled growth of cells in the colon (large instestines) or rectum (end of the colon) or appendix. For the causes, signs and symptoms, prevention and detection of the disease, please refer to the Philippine Cancer Society Website's FAQs portion.
In our father's case, he had a two-month bout of diarrhea which was diagnosed first as amoebiasis.  His diarrhea took a long course as he was afraid to seek medical attention as he is scared of needles.  Yes, I know, I am a doctor and I should have urged him to seek a check-up.  But if you know,our father, he is very kind but the most stubborn person I know so asking him to have a check-up was definitely a battle in itself. We finally convinced him to have a check up and as I said earlier, he was diagnosed to have amoebiasis.  Being male and in his 70's, his doctor wanted him to have a colonoscopy as a screening procedure two weeks after his diarrhea was cured.  A few days after he was diagnosed with amoebiasis, he was not his usual jolly self and was not eating well if at all despite our mother's urging. My mother was concerned and he was admitted to the hospital for rehydration.  The doctor then wanted him to undergo colonoscopy a week after.  In the colonoscopy, a mass near the anal verge was found and thought to be malignant, he was advised resection of the mass.  My siblings and I then decided to seek a second opinion.  We looked for a colorectal surgeon and luckily, found Dr. Manuel Franciso Roxas. Dr. Roxas admitted our father to undergo further workup. Our father then underwent blood tests and a CT so that his colonoscopy will not be repeated. He then underwent a colonoscopy and after chemoradiotherapy, if the tumor size is decreased will undergo a second surgery for resection and then chemotherapy again.  Hopefully, he will not undergo chemotherapy IV but only the oral kind.
Our father's side of the family has a strong family history of colorectal cancer.  Our grandfather and uncle both died from this disease and we think that this is the cause of our father's cancer as family history is also a risk factor.  He is not obese or a smoker but he does love meat and that could be a contributing factor also.
As an update, he is currently undergoing chemo and radiation therapy. This will last for 28 days. We hope that you will pray for his immediate recovery.

Philippine Cancer Society Website

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