The newly-launched endoscopy unit of Ace Medical Center (AMC) Palawan aims to help locals with early screening against colorectal cancer, as it ranks as one of the leading cancers causing death in the country.

Dr. Ivan Michael Vicente of the endoscopy unit said Thursday that through the endoscopy, the colon polyp can be seen and removed to avoid further development into cancer in 10 to 15 years. If it is already cancer, it can be immediately seen for surgery as the survival rate for stage 1 hits 90 percent in five years.

The unit can cater Colonoscopy, Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and Dilatation of narrowing or strictures. It can also perform interventions such as removal of polyps, control of bleeding (ulcer, varices), rubber band ligation, thermal coagulation, and hemoclips.

“In the Philippines, it ranks third as the leading cause of cancer next to breast and lungs. Colon cancer in 2013 is the rank four next to lung, liver, and breast na may pinakamaraming cancer ngayon. At nakakalungkot, it is one of the most prevantable cancers, naiiwasan siya. Many of deaths happening because people don’t know about this cancer and they are not taking actions about it,” Vicente said.

Nearly 90 percent of colon cancer patients are over the age of 50, but health professionals noticed that patients are becoming younger. The public is advised to start regular screening at the age of 45 years old.

The other risk factors are having a colon cancer history in the family, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, hereditary colorectal syndromes, smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages, a high-fat and low-fiber diet, and absence of exercise.

Endoscopy is a test to look inside the human body using a long and thin tube with a small camera inside called an endoscope. Its unit system uses Olympus CV-180 EVIS EXERA II located at the 2nd floor of the hospital.

AMC Palawan founding president Editha Miguel said the unit will be accessible for the locals of Palawan.

“It is very important because it is a tool to diagnose early the illnesses of our patients. It is very important to have better chances in life, alam natin na there are illnesses that cannot be diagnosed early,” Miguel said.

Pilar Arnejo, Development management Officer IV of Department of Health (DOH) added that the hospital is one of the partners of the department in advancing the health system in the province.

“Ang ating mga ospital ay ating katuwang sa pagbibigay ng accessibility sa health needs ng ating public. Ngayon meron na tayong karagdagang pasilidad na may kagamitan, kakayahan . This is more than a launching, this is a call for a development, call for advanced health system for a healthier Palaweño,” Arnejo said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.