Colorectal Cancer Is Treatable if Diagnosed Early
March is the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, leading numerous health institutions to create campaigns to drive up diagnostic screenings. In 2020, colorectal cancer (CRC) was the third most commonly diagnosed cancer type in the world. Early diagnosis can prevent metastasis and death.
CRC occurs when cells within the colon or rectum grow out of control. This disease is the fourth most common cancer in the Americas and the second most common cause of cancer death in the EU. Globally, this cancer kills 700,000 people each year.
In Mexico, 15,000 new cases of colon and/or rectum cancer are diagnosed annually, according to IMSS. This type of cancer is the second most common cancer suffered by Mexican men and the fourth most common among women. The Centro Médico Nacional (CMN) Oncology Hospital reports it receives 10 percent more cases each year of CRC. During 2019, tumors in the colon, rectum or anus were the cause of 12 percent of cancer deaths among men between 30 and 59 years old. In contrast, it caused 8 percent of cancer deaths among women.
Besides the physical impact of colorectal cancer in the human body, patients also experiment emotional and economic consequences in their lives. According to a study, 40 percent of colorectal cancer survivors reported financial impact and stress. Most patients also suffered an emotional burden, found a report from BMC Gastroenterology.
An early diagnosis can save lives because 90 percent of cases can be treated if detected in early stages. In 2018, the National Institute of Oncology (INCan) launched the Early Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis campaign, which promoted the Fecal Immunology Test that gives a result in 24 hours. The National Institute of Public Health regular checkups for those over 50 years of age to diagnose it early, which would allow doctors to remove polyps before they turn into cancer.
Clinic limitations during the COVID-19 outbreak could have led to late CRC cancer cases, found a study published in the International Journal of Colorectal Disease. If the disease is not diagnosed on time and the cancer expands to other organs, most CRC patients have a probability of dying within the next 5 years, as reported by IMSS. About 70 percent of colon cases are diagnosed in late stages, said Ángel Herrera, Deputy Director, INCan.
To prevent colorectal cancer, the National Institute of Public Health recommends to conduct regular checks, have a healthy diet and an active life. Having an inflammatory intestinal disease, genetics and being over 50 years old are risk factors.