Thursday , July 29 2021

Colon cancer: if found early, 9 out of 10 can be cured

Colorectal cancer is the second most common type in Argentina and, if detected early, has high rates of treatment, so experts say prevention and timely diagnosis are essential.

Among the types of cancer, colon cancer is the second most common, with approximately 15,700 new cases per year, representing 12.6% of total tumors, breast and prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute data of 2018.

In 2017, about 7,511 people died of colon cancer in the country, which means more than 20 Argentinians a day on average, and in addition, 7 out of 10 Argentinians between 50 and 75 years have not gone through any research to find it , according to the National Study of Risk Factors for Non-infectious Diseases, conducted in 2013 by the Ministry of Health.

Specialists emphasize the importance of finding it over time, as the majority of patients can be cured if they are diagnosed and treated early, recommending that they go to the gastroenterologist to perform the appropriate research before the symptoms occur.

In addition, colon cancer has a precursor lesion, an adenomatous polyp or adenoma which, if detected and removed by colonoscopy, prevents the disease in most cases.

In cases where it was discovered late, the scenario is much more complicated, although there are currently effective therapeutic alternatives that contribute to improving the quality of life and prognosis of the disease.

The two most commonly used tests for prophylaxis and early detection of colon cancer are a faecal occult blood and colonoscopy test, each of which is indicated by the expert's opinion.

The first is done in the home with ordinary medical material, and the colonoscopy includes a light sedation with anesthesia and allows the colon and rectum to be examined through a chamber located in a flexible tube.

This last test uses advanced equipment by experienced professionals, and if polyps are found, this can be deduced from the same study.

"These tests are necessary for prevention and / or early detection." Some patients are still reluctant to conduct a colonoscopy, but the reality is that it is a painless procedure and can help detect premature lesions or early colon cancer. their treatment will save many lives, "said Ubaldo Gualdrin, a gastroenterologist and a member of the gastroenterological department of the gastroenterological hospital, Dr. Carlos Udaundo.

In turn, his partner and proctor Carina Kollia said: "All people over the age of 50 should go to the specialist and carry out studies like a colonoscopy or faecal blood test at the frequency your doctor tells you."

"Although colon cancer is slow to develop, the sooner it is diagnosed, the greater its chances of treatment If the presence of potentially cancerous polyps is detected during the colonoscopy, it is removed and sent for analysis, preventing him from growing and producing colon cancer, "explained Kolliya.


Some of the symptoms that may indicate this condition are changes in bowel movement, bleeding in the stools, recurrent abdominal or rectal pain, anemia or sudden weight loss. However, it is advisable to go to a consultation before the onset of symptoms, as they usually appear in more advanced stages.

"There are some factors that can increase the chances of colon cancer, which are more than 50 years old, have a history of polyps or colorectal cancer in the family, or suffer from inflammatory bowel disease," said the gastroenterologist and director of the Udaundo Hospital, Eduardo Sosa.

Sosa explained that the highest incidence of the disease already in place is usually 65 years and says other factors that increase the suffering are diet and unhealthy lifestyle, excessive intake of red meat and fat, excess alcohol, smoking, overweight, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of physical activity.

"To reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, a healthy diet with a higher intake of fiber, especially fruit and vegetables, weight control, avoiding smoking and excess alcohol, regular physical activity, and periodic specialist visits are recommended. exam according to the background, "said Gualdrin, who also chaired the Argentine Society of Gastroenterology (SAGE).

Among the available therapeutic options, surgery is the main alternative since it allows the removal of tumor and regional lymph nodes and chemotherapy by the use of drugs may be associated with surgery or sometimes as the only treatment depending on the stage of the tumor.

In the case of cancer located in the rectum, the possibility of chemotherapy associated with radiotherapy prior to surgery allows the results to be improved. On the other hand, specific targeted therapies have been developed in recent years with very promising results for the more advanced stages.

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