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Colorectal cancer is a disease in which normal cells in the lining of the colon or rectum begin to change, grow without control, and no longer die. It usually begins as a non-cancerous polyp that can, over time, become a cancerous tumour.

The Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center (EJACC) of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. is a leading advocate for cancer prevention in Cebu. As the country celebrates Colorectal Cancer Month in March, it urged the public to engage in early detection and prevention measures to fight colorectal cancer.

According to EJACC’s Metro Cebu Population-based Cancer Registry statistics, incidence rate and mortality rate of colorectal cancer among men and women aged 30 years old and above are high. Within 1993 to 2005, about 773 men and 600 women who are 30 years old and beyond were recorded to have the disease.

Within the same period, 464 men and 344 women aged 30 and above have died of the cancer. There were 47 people aged 0 to 29 who acquired colorectal cancer and 25 of them died of it from 1993 to 2005.

The most common signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer include change in bowel habits that persists for more than four days. Change in bowel habits may include diarrhea, constipation or decreased stool thickness; feeling that the bowel is not completely emptied after a bowel movement.

The presence of bright red or very dark blood in the bowel movement or on tissue paper; persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas pains, or bloating are also some of the symptoms of the disease.

It also include the feeling of a lump in the rectum; vomiting; chronic fatigue and unexplained weight loss; history of ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease; and certain hereditary conditions like familial adenomatous polyp sis and hereditary non-polyp sis colon cancer.