Colon cancer is one of the few tumors that can be diagnosed early before noticing any symptoms
It can be detected with a non-invasive test like the fecal occult blood test
Colorectal cancer is the most frequent malignant tumor in Spain and the second highest mortality, both in men and women. In Spain, 32,000 new cases are diagnosed per year and for this cause more than 14,000 people die annually. Despite its incidence and mortality, it is one of the most approachable and, diagnosed in time, is curable in more than 90% of cases.
Acoording to doctor Pedro Bretcha, president of the Spanish Society of Surgical Oncology (SEOQ) and specialist in surgical oncology at the Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja, it is possible to reduce or eliminate risk factors, especially those related to food, to alcohol, tobacco and physical exercise or lifestyle.
- Food: diets rich in animal fats (red meat) and poor in fiber can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Physical inactivity: a sedentary life favors the risk of this disease.
- Tobacco use: increases the risk of suffering from polyps, which are usually the precursors of this tumor.
- Consumption of alcohol: it seems that alcoholic beverages favors the growth of the cells of the mucosa of the colon, giving rise to the manifestation of polyps.
The vast majority of colon cancers are sporadic, with hereditary being the minority. People with a first-degree relative with cancer have a higher risk of suffering from it, as well as having had a cancer previously or determined type of polyps before age 60. It is also verified that the danger increases with age: 90% are diagnosed after 50 years and, as it gets older, it increases.
Stool analysis is as effective as colonoscopy in detecting cancer
Doctor José Farré Alegre, Head of General Surgery and Gastroenterology and Oncology Surgery specialist at Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja explains that, "as regards its early detection, there is a consensus that all those without risk factors who should undergo a study from 50 years of age. There are several types of tests: a colonoscopy every 10 years, a CT colonography every five years, a sigmoidoscopy every five years, or a blood test hidden in the stools every year that has proven to be as effective as other diagnostic tests. In contrast, those with an increased risk should enter a study program at a younger age and more frequently. People who have a first-degree relative under 60 with colon cancer or two first-degree relatives at any age, should have a colonoscopy from 40 years or 10 years before diagnosis of the family member; and from that moment, every five years.
In contrast, those with an increased risk should enter a study program at a younger age and more frequently. People who have a first-degree relative under 60 with colon cancer or two first-degree relatives at any age, should have a colonoscopy from 40 years or 10 years before diagnosis of the family member; and from that moment, every five years.
Those whose first-degree relative is diagnosed beyond the age of 60, or who have two or more affected second-degree relatives, should have a colonoscopy study starting at age 50. On the other hand, those who have a relative of second or third degree affected by colon cancer would go on to the usual studies of the normal population.