Doctors: Women Need Colon Cancer Screenings, Too

At present, the doctors advise colonoscopy for alarm symptoms. However, now gastroenterologists are asking for screening on people before symptoms appear, especially since they appear late in CRC, which is a preventable disease. Screening can be through colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or faecal occult blood (FOB) testing.

This is mainly because majority of those detected with CRC have no family history and the common onset of disease is 40 years.

The average age of diagnosis of CRC in India is 47.5 years. In Kochi, the prevalence of young CRC is around 24%. A study at six private hospitals in the state that was presented at the conference showed that about 17% detected with CRC are below the age of 50. "The question now is what is the right age to screen? Is it 35, 40 or 45? This is crucial since the most significant increase in CRC has occurred in patients of ages 40 to 44 and the number of CRC patients over 50 is declining. Consideration should be given for age-based colonoscopic screening at the age of 40," said gastroenterologist Dr Rajeev Jayadevan and author of the study at six private hospitals.

WHO data shows that the estimated mortality incidence of colorectum cancer in Indian men is 5.4 in 1 lakh population and women is 7.2 in 1 lakh. However, doctors said that this may not be the exact data as there is no proper screening with many CRCs silent and death registers unreliable.

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