In recent decades, the number of colorectal tumours is multiplied. Worldwide, 950,000 new cases are detected each year, and of this 500,000 people die because of the lack of screening and media information. The colon cancer is the second most common cancer in the developed world.
In Hungary, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death and is becoming increasingly more common. While fifty years ago, there were fifteen illnesses per 100,000 inhabitants, this number is now forty-five. The risk of colorectal cancer increases with age, occurring most frequently the ages between 60-80. However, many specialists asserts: the illness can also occur below the age of forty – especially if a family member had a similar tumour.
Signs of presence of a tumour may include changes in bowel habits, bright red or dark blackish brown, bloody stools, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, loss of appetite. Each year, about eight to nine thousand new cases are registered and about six thousand people, i.e. the population of a small town, die because of the fact that the disease was not recognized in time, and consequently, the therapy carrying the chances of healing is not started in time. But most of the deaths could be prevented, as it is one of the best and most effectively screenable disease. The vast majority of colorectal cancers are developed from a precancerous state, a so called polyp. This process may last for many years. If the disease is detected at this stage, there is a good chance for complete recovery. The screening is advisable to start from the age of 40-50 years, but if several cases occurred in the family, or in a relative colorectal cancer developed at a younger age, the systematic screening can begin as early as the age of twenties.
In patients with colorectal cancer the chance for 5-year survival at international is around 60 per cent on average, but in case of early detection this ratio is even greater. In a different approach, however, the chance of 5-year disease-free survival in our region is just over 30 per cent.
It is worth focusing on screening, which does not always have to mean an unpleasant colonoscopy. As a first step a test can be performed at home that is able to indicate a possible blood content of the stool, which may be useful for information. A more reliable method includes virtual CT colonoscopy, where a possible polyp may be diagnosed even when it does not cause bleeding yet. It is a method that does not burden the body as much as conventional colonoscopy because in this case no tube is inserted through the gut. This advanced diagnostic test is a specialized CT scan that provides similar results to the conventional method in terms of assessment of polyps on the internal surface of colon, and in addition it also provides information on the environment of bowels and other abdominal organs.
More information about virtual CT-colonoscopy