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Health Matters

Screening for Colon Cancer

Luís Lebre (Gastroenterologist) . 10/09/2015

Did you know that colon cancer, if early detected, is a preventable and curable disease? It is one of the most frequent tumours, affecting both men and women. In Portugal, it is responsible for the death of over 3000 persons per year.

Although only 2% to 3% of the population has a genetic predisposition, the majority of cases is diagnosed after the age of 50 and appears to be related to factors such as alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, lack of fibre intake, etc.

Being aware of the signs below is of extreme importance:

  • Change in bowel habits

  • Abdominal pain

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Weight loss

  • Anemia

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider for prescription of appropriate exams, probably a colonoscopy, if you are over 50 years old.

Nevertheless, if you are over 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, you should perform a colonoscopy, even if you show none of the above symptoms.

This exam allows polyp detection. These tumours are benign but may evolve to cancer and it is possible to remove them during this procedure.

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