Colorectal cancer, the tumor with the highest incidence among the Spanish population

Colorectal cancer is cancer that originates in the colon or rectum.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 10:35
7 Reads
Colorectal cancer, the tumor with the highest incidence among the Spanish population

Colorectal cancer is cancer that originates in the colon or rectum. The colon and rectum constitute the final part of the digestive tract.

On the occasion of World Colon Cancer Day, which is celebrated on March 31, Clínica ServiDigest analyzes its incidence, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment and prevention measures for colon cancer.

Colorectal cancer predominates in older people. The mean age at presentation is 70 years and the majority of patients (>70%) are over 50 years of age at diagnosis. We must not forget that it can also appear in younger people and the incidence is progressively increasing in those under 50 years of age.

It is estimated that 42,459 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in Spain in 2023, thus becoming the cancer with the highest incidence in Spain considering both sexes. It is the second most common tumor in men after prostate cancer and the second in women after breast cancer. The incidence of colorectal cancer is slightly higher in men than in women.

Cancer risk factors are those conditions or agents that increase the probability of having a certain disease. In the case of colon cancer, we can distinguish between modifiable risk factors (which depend on our habits and lifestyle), and non-modifiable ones (in which we cannot intervene). Two of the main ones are overweight and obesity. Likewise, certain eating behaviors (diets rich in fat and red meat, as well as those low in fruit, vegetables and fiber) increase the risk of suffering from this type of cancer. It is also important to combat a sedentary lifestyle, exercise and stay active, to avoid cancer.

Other risk factors are alcohol consumption and tobacco. The latter increases the risk of suffering from polyps, precursors to the development of colorectal cancer.

On the other hand, there are non-modifiable colon cancer risk factors. One of them is age. The risk of suffering from the disease increases with age, as the appearance of polyps in the colon and rectum increases. It is rare for colorectal cancer to appear in people under 40 years of age, although in Western countries the incidence of colorectal cancer in this age group is increasing.

You should also pay attention to your personal history of polyps: people with a history of adenomatous polyps have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Another factor to take into account is personal history of colorectal cancer; Having had a previous colorectal cancer increases the risk of a second colorectal cancer.

For their part, people with type II diabetes mellitus have a higher risk of suffering from colon cancer, although good control of the disease reduces the risk of cancer.

Finally, we must not forget inflammatory bowel diseases, although their incidence is low and accounts for less than 1% of all colorectal cancers.

In most cases, colorectal cancer appears in people with no family history, but there is a smaller percentage of cases in which the diagnosis occurs in people who have other relatives who have previously suffered from it. In this sense, it is important to distinguish between a certain family grouping (up to 25% of patients have an affected relative) and the existence of a hereditary component (between 2% and 5% of colon cancers are related to syndromes). hereditary conditions that predispose to the appearance of colorectal cancer).

Colonoscopy is a test with which the mucosa of the entire colon and rectum can be observed through a long, flexible tube (endoscope) in addition to allowing biopsies to be taken for pathological confirmation (essential to confirm the diagnosis of colorectal cancer). ). Currently, colonoscopy is performed under deep sedation (it is not general anesthesia; the patient is asleep, feels relaxed and does not perceive pain), thus avoiding the discomfort caused by distention of the digestive tract when the endoscope is introduced inside.

Surgical treatment is required in some selected cases, when the tumor is in an advanced stage or when the disease has spread along the outside of the colon wall. Other treatments can be combined depending on each case. Currently, radiotherapy and chemotherapy can be used as complementary treatment to reduce the size of the tumor and improve prognosis and survival. It is important to highlight that the treatment of colorectal cancer must be supervised by a multidisciplinary team and coordinated with specialists in the digestive system, digestive endoscopy, general and oncological surgery, oncology and specialized nursing.

One of the main tasks of Clínica ServiDigest, developed for 50 years, is to raise awareness among the population about the importance of prevention as the main way to defeat colon cancer.