The Medical City Early Cancer Detection Program

Many people assume that getting cancer is a matter of bad luck and environmental hazards. But many cancer experts now believe that lifestyle factors — smoking, diet, stress, etc. are more important factors than thought possible a few years ago. Lifestyle factors are involved in most cancers, with controllable factors estimated to be as high as 80 to 90 percent of all causes. Diet may account for some 35 percent, and smoking another 30 percent.

The Philippine Cancer Society lists lung cancer as the leading cause of deaths from cancer in the country. In 2010, a total of 11,458 cases were reported, while there were 9,184 deaths. Colorectal cancer, on the other hand, ranks no.4 in terms of cancer deaths. In the same year, 5,787 cases were recorded, while deaths due to colorectal cancer reached 3,060 cases.

EBUS flyer_front  (RGB)

The Medical City (TMC) Cancer Program, organized in 2006, adopts a unique multidisciplinary team approach to cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and management. It applies innovative molecular technologies in diagnosis and treatment for a truly customized and personalized care.

With a full appreciation that no two individuals are alike, regardless of similarities between two patients diagnosed with the same type of cancer, TMC Cancer Program applies an individualized approach to cancer diagnosis and treatment based on the patient’s profile and history.

With this, a personalized treatment plan according to the profile and preferences of the patient is developed by a multidisciplinary team. The highly trained medical team includes cancer specialists, nurses and other specialized health care professionals. Family members are also an important part of this. Central to everyone, the focus of our cancer program is the patient.

“With EBUS as an additional diagnostic option for high-risk patients, we are expecting to increase detection rates of early stage lung cancer, which may be salvageable by surgery and has good prognosis. In addition, EBUS can aid in the diagnosis of benign diseases that need specific pathologic confirmation,” says Dr. Christine Chavez, interventional pulmonologist and head of the Lung Unit of TMC Center for Cancer Care and Research.

EBUS assists patients and doctors by shortening the time from diagnosis to treatment. EBUS is a procedure that incorporates ultrasound technology in bronchoscopy. By means of a small video device, it allows bronchoscopists to view lung abnormalities through and beyond the surface of the airways for real-time image guidance during procedures; hence, higher degree of diagnostic accuracy and safety is possible.

With real-time imaging and ultrasound guidance, doctors can map, evaluate, and safely biopsy tumors and lymph nodes. This procedure is called EBUS-transbronchial needle aspiration, or EBUS-TBNA, which results in accurate diagnosis and staging of the lung cancer and detection of other causes of pulmonary mass such as tuberculosis, sarcoidosis and lymphoma.

Among the medical professionals leading the TMC Cancer Center are:

Dr. Daniel Alonzo, TMC Cancer Center head;

Dr. Christine Chavez, Lung Cancer Program head; and,

Dr. Ramy Roxas, Colorectal Clinic head.

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