Health recalls the importance of the active participation of citizens in colon cancer screening

Mar 31, 2024 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

In the Balearic Islands, 50 cases of colon cancer and 269 premalignant lesions were detected in 2022 thanks to this programme.

The Balearic screening programme will complete the invitation to the entire target population of the islands, 289,460 residents between the ages of 50 and 69, by 2024.

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Participation of citizens in colon cancer screening

On the occasion of World Colon Cancer Day, which is celebrated every year on 31 March, the Regional Ministry of Health wants to emphasise and raise awareness among the citizens of the islands about the importance of taking an active role in the prevention and early detection to curb a disease that can increase survival by 90% if there is early detection.

Early Detection Programme for Colon and Rectal Cancer in the Balearic Islands

To achieve this, the active participation of all citizens invited to the screening of the Balearic Islands Colon and Rectal Cancer Early Detection Programme (PDPCCR) is essential. This is a programme that began in 2015 and has been expanding year after year, incorporating new areas until it reaches 100% of the target population – 289,460 residents – aged between 50 and 69, a goal that will be met this 2024.

The PDPCCR is one of the most effective screening programmes because of its high capacity for early detection of this pathology using the faecal occult blood test (FOBT). Thanks to screening, not only are existing lesions identified early, but polyps are prevented from developing into malignant tumours. In the Balearic Islands, in 2022, thanks to this programme, 50 cases of colon cancer were detected, while 269 people were found to have a pre-malignant lesion with a moderate to high risk of developing the disease.

The PDPCCR procedure consists of inviting the population using a letter that men and women between 50 and 69 years of age, registered in the Balearic Islands, receive at their homes. With the letter, they should go to any of the pharmacies on the list.

If necessary, the pharmacy will give them a faecal occult blood test and an information leaflet on how to collect the sample at home. Once the sample has been collected, you should take it to the Health Centre that corresponds to your area and that appears in the letter you received. If the test result is negative, you will be invited again after 2 years. If the result of the blood test is positive, the study is completed by referring to the Digestive Service of the corresponding hospital.

Colon cancer

Colon cancer was the second most common cancer in 2023 in both men and women. It is a rare type of cancer before the age of 50, with the highest incidence occurring around the age of 60. It is a tumour caused by abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the colon or rectal area of the large intestine. It does not usually present symptoms until it is very advanced.

Hence the importance of early detection, which allows these polyps to be removed before they degenerate into malignant tumours. Detecting colorectal cancer at an early stage allows for more effective treatment.