The City of San Fernando hosted the first colorectal or colon cancer outreach prevention program of St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City, Taguig-Institute of Digestive and Liver Diseases (SLMC-IDLD).
This partnership between the San Fernando’s Health Office and SLMC-IDLD, together with Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital (JBLMRH), resulted into a more comprehensive colorectal cancer education and screening, dubbed “Sagip Bituka”, among Fernandino families.
Colorectal cancer, which develops from a polyp in a person’s colon or rectum, is one of the leading cancer types that cause death. It could be acquired through an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, high consumption of alcoholic beverages and cigarette smoking.
According to Dr. Juliet Cervantes, SLMC-IDLD Director, “Sagip Bituka” targets to extend aid to indigent people who can’t afford screening such as colonoscopy, an efficient way for early detection of cancer.
On November 16, 2019, gastroenterologists of SLMC-IDLD performed free colonoscopy to more than 30 Fernandinos and non-Fernandinos.
They also held a forum which featured other cancer causes and symptoms, including control and prevention measures against the disease. Cervantes said that the cooperation of the city government and JBLMRH helped them in realizing the program.
“Nakita namin yung buong kooperasyon ng JBLMRH at ng Lokal na Pamahalaan ng San Fernando para maisagawa ang programang ito. Malaki ang naitulong nila sa amin simula sa paghahanap ng mga pasyente, pagdarausan ng programa, at pagbabahagi ng mga mahahalagang impormasyon,” she said.
Mayor Edwin “EdSa” Santiago, in his speech, said that the program was an answer to the health needs of his constituents.
“Noong mga nakaraang taon, nakita nating dumarami ang mga kababayan nating humihingi ng tulong upang makapagpagamot sa sakit na colon cancer. Doon natin sinimulan ang prevention program sa sakit na ito upang paunti-unti, matugunan natin ang problema. At, ngayon, sa tulong ng ating mga katuwang na ospital, mas mabibigyan natin nang kaukulang tulong ang mga kababayan nating nakikibaka sa sakit na ito,” Santiago said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Carlos Mercado, representing City Health Officer Dr. Eloisa Aquino, said the city is looking forward to another outreach program in the near future to cater to more patients in San Fernando and nearby towns in Pampanga.
The city quarterly holds Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Control Program in a bid to raise awareness about the disease. It also provides Fernandinos free Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), the primary screening of colon cancer.
The SLMC-IDLD is targeting to stage its next outreach program in the southern Luzon part of the country and expressed willingness to make the program’s second edition in the city next year.