• Health

Colorectal cancer: the value of screening

8 February 2020 - 7h17

Since 2006, the Principality has been carrying out an active colon cancer screening policy. A policy whose effects are measured.

Screening aims either to detect precancerous links or to carry out early therapeutic management. It should be known, in fact, that, statistically, one person in 25 is at risk of having colon cancer and that in France there are 45,000 new cases per year and above all that there are almost 18,000 deaths. It is the 2nd cancer by the number of deaths. The first means of screening is to look for blood in the stool since its presence leads to checking for the existence of possible suspicious polyps. Patients with a personal or family history, therefore considered to be at higher risk, are often referred directly to gastroenterologists in order to perform a colonoscopy. In 2016, Monaco adopted a new immunological test that is very easy to use and very reliable, read by an automated device. An automaton which the Monegasque government has decided to equip the CHPG. Thanks to this test and the automated system, two to two and a half times more cancers are detected than previously, especially for advanced adenomas, explains Dr Rouison, head of the Screening Centre.

In practice, the test can be given either by the attending physician, by a specialist, or by doctors from the Office of Occupational Medicine or even at the screening centre at the CHPG. Colorectal cancer mainly affects people over 50 and therefore prevention is recommended from this age. In Monaco, it is offered to all those who work for the Social Security Funds or the State Medical Benefits Service. Since the start of the campaign, more than 15,000 sheets defining the patient’s situation have been distributed. To date, 6,127 tests have been carried out, of which 245 have proved positive, according to the Screening Centre. Among these findings, there were 107 polyps, half of which were precancerous and 18 cancers were discovered after a colonoscopy.

Generally speaking, there has been a drop in mortality from this colon cancer, to which prevention policy undoubtedly contributes. Based on the results observed, “Blue Mars” will be an opportunity to relaunch information campaigns on this subject.

Noël METTEY

© CHPG

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