Roche Lebanon shed the light on the prevalence and prevention of the colorectal cancer as part of International Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

28 March, 2013 Roche Lebanon held a media session entitled ‘Red Alert’ referring to rectal bleeding as a key sign of colorectal cancer in recognition of the international colorectal cancer awareness month. The session aimed at highlighting the signs and symptoms with a clear call to action not to ignore the warning symptoms of the third most-common cancer in Lebanon after breast and lung cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death commonly reported in the world while being one of the most preventable forms of cancers (Ferlay J et al. Ann Oncol 2007). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of successful treatment is high, especially when the cancer is detected and treated early.

“People often dismiss colorectal cancer symptoms as trivial when they first appear leading to delays in seeking help” highlighted Dr. Fadi El Karak, Medical Oncologist. “Prevention techniques include regular screenings, healthy diet and regular exercise. If detected, colorectal cancer requires surgery in nearly all cases, sometimes in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy. Between 80 and 90 percent of patients are restored to normal health if the cancer is detected and treated in the earliest stages. However, the cure rate drops to 50 percent or less when diagnosed in the later stages as early symptoms (such as abdominal pain) are often confused with other diseases”, he explained.

Colorectal cancer affects approximately 650 individuals annually in Lebanon as per the the 2007 National Cancer Registry. Like other cancers, it develops due to a combination of genetic, biologic and environmental factors interacting together. Screening and awareness can reduce mortality of colorectal cancer by detecting and removing polyps before they become cancerous, or by discovering the cancer at an earlier stage, where treatment has a higher success rate.

Abed Al Rahman Sabra, Country Manager of Hoffmann-La Roche in Lebanon stressed on the ‘Red Alert’ to increase awareness among the public for a more health conscious society: “The combination of increased awareness about the risk factors, diagnosis and treatment options will help save many patients and for many diagnosed patients to regain some control of their future. Colorectal cancer is highly treatable if detected early. Awareness month such as this one create good times for people to learn more about the risk factors and warning signs and to commit to doing just one thing at a time to help prevent this disease.”

Key factors to reducing the colon cancer personal risk are screening and taking charge of personal lifestyle choices. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits are effective in reducing the risk factors.

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