58% of those cited for colon cancer screening refused the test


From right to left, Beatriz Rodríguez, Yaiza Dueñas and Candelaria Navarro, yesterday at Vithas Las Palmas. / COVER

In 2021 in the Canary Islands there were 1,687 colorectal tumor diagnoses and 385 deaths were recorded. Performing a stool blood test is key to its early detection

Carmen Delia Aranda

Of the 119,368 people between the ages of 50 and 69 contacted last year by the Canary Islands Health Service to participate in the
Colon and Rectal Cancer Early Diagnosis Program, only 42.5%, that is, 50,692 people, underwent a screening test. Of these, 2,747 were positive in the fecal occult blood test, which resulted in the performance of 1,077 colonoscopies in which
46 colon cancers were detected66 high-risk adenomas and 227 low-risk, as reported yesterday by the Government of the Canary Islands.

In any case,
this effort for the early detection of colorectal cancer should be redoubled to improve the prognosis of the pathology and avoid deaths, according to the psychologist of the
Spanish Association Against Cancer in Las Palmas, Yaiza Duenas.

In 2021,
In the Canary Islands, 385 people died from colon cancer. What's more,
last year in the archipelago 1,687 colorectal cancers were diagnosed, Dueñas indicates that this Wednesday he participated in a classroom to raise awareness about the importance of these screenings at Vithas Las Palmas.

“The objective of the association in 2024 is for screening to cover the entire population between 50 and 69 years old,” says Dueñas, who specifies that in 2021 64.67% of the population were invited to participate in the early detection program. target population of the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and 53.26% of that of Las Palmas. In addition, in the case of the eastern province, the screening excluded the capital of Gran Canaria, except for the Tamaraceite neighborhood, as well as the towns of Corralejo, Morro Jable, Yaiza, Santa Brígida, Arguineguín or Valleseco.

«
Screening coverage needs to be expanded. The stool blood test costs two euros, much less than treating a metastatic cancer", emphasizes Dueñas, who adds that the Canary Islands are at the bottom of Spain in terms of carrying out this screening, while the Basque Country and Navarra are the communities where it is more widespread.

In addition, despite the fact that nearly 60% of the Canarian population of these ages was invited to take the test in 2021,
more than half of the people cited refused to participate in the program. “Not everyone is going to get checked. The population must be encouraged to lose their fear. The fecal occult blood test is
a painless and non-invasive test», comments the member of the Spanish Association against Cancer of Las Palmas.

For the Digestive System specialist at Vithas Las Palmas, Beatriz Rodríguez, this reluctance is due to the fact that the information does not reach everyone equally and therefore
Citizens must be made aware of the effectiveness of screening to detect cancer early and increase the chances of survival by more than 90%. The doctor, who also participated in the awareness classroom, maintains that each year more colon cancer is detected due to the expansion of screening, a trend that was broken by the pandemic that delayed the performance of tests and diagnoses. Furthermore, it warns that
the incidence of the pathology is increasing and is becoming more common in people under 50 years of age.

That is the case of the 47-year-old Candelaria Navarro from Gran Canaria. The patient gave faith in the days of the importance of undergoing screening tests. «
When I was diagnosed, in February 2021, there were already metastases. He had walked to the ovaries. However, she feels lucky to have fallen into the hands of good professionals who operated on her almost urgently. “I would tell people that
if you have close relatives who have had colon cancer, try to get testedoh look at them, "says Navarro. His father died of this disease. For this reason, they did a screening that came back negative. Then, there were no further check-ups until the cancer presented itself completely. Now, after completing chemotherapy treatment, he continues to monitor the evolution of his illness. "I'm good. Attitude helps a lot,” says Navarro.



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