In Spain, every year some 25,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed, which makes it the most common malignant tumor in the country. Often, colon cancer does not produce any symptoms in its early stages and most begin as a small polyp on the wall of the colon that gradually grows larger. In spite of the frequency with which this cancer appears, up to 90% of tumors in the colon can be cured thanks to surgery if it is diagnosed in the early stages. For that reason, screening is fundamental to detecting possibly cancerous cells.
On the occasion of World Colon Cancer Day, held on March 31, specialists insist that the public, both men and women, should be submitted to diagnostic tests from the age of 50 on – mainly colonoscopies – every 10 years. ‘In those where there is a family history of this type of cancer, it is important to draw up a personalized diagnostic plan, because up to 20% of colon cancer cases are hereditary’, explained Dr. Oscar Alonso, member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid Gastrointestinal Cancer Surgery Unit.
At present, surgery is the first treatment option for colon cancer in the early stages, with some cases requiring radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. Each therapeutic process must be adapted to the individual patient’s profile, which undoubtedly has a direct effect on increasing the chances of a cure. At the same time, the stage and location of the tumor are also important factors when the medical team chooses the right treatment.