Colorectal cancer (cancer of the large intestine or the rectum)

Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the world accounting for 1.24 million new cases annually; but 609 thousand people die from this cancer every year. The colorectal cancer is the most frequent type of cancer disease of the digestive apparatus both globally and in Latvia. In Latvia annually 1100 patients get diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 700 patients die because of the disease.

The cancer is most common in highly developed countries, but is rapidly increasing in less developed areas.

This cancer can be successfully treated if diagnosed early. Colorectal cancer can be even prevented by withdrawing polyps from the large intestine before the cancer is developing. At the same time the mortality statistics in many of the countries in the European region (including Latvia, Russia, Belarus) are clearly showing ineffectiveness of the current public health measures to prevent the mortality due to colorectal cancer.

In many of the European countries as well as in other countries around the globe colorectal cancer screening has been introduced or the screening introduction is started. There is also Latvia among these countries.

European guidelines for quality assurance in colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis are recommending the use of faecal occult blood test for the screening of this cancer type. Many studies have proven the cost-efficacy of colorectal cancer screening.

As for today many countries in the European region are still not having a functioning colorectal cancer screening program. There are still many questions to be addressed by researchers for improving the screening outcomes. In 2011 University of Latvia within the European Social Fund Project “Interdisciplinary research group for early cancer detection and cancer prevention” has intorduced pilot research to optimize the organised colorectal cancer screening in Latvia.


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