A projection by Inca (National Cancer Institute) concluded that the number of premature deaths caused by bowel cancer should grow by about 10% between 2026 and 2030 in Brazil. The estimate concerns adults aged 30 to 69 years.
The research carried out by researchers at the institute was published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology. The survey considered data from 2000 to 2015 to project the number of premature deaths until 2030. This estimate was then compared with deaths between 2011 and 2015. From then on, it was possible to determine the percentage increase in expected deaths.
It wasn’t just bowel cancer that made up the research, but it was the tumor that showed the highest growth in premature deaths compared to others. In total, it is estimated that about 27,000 more early deaths will occur from 2026 to 2030 from this tumor compared to previous years of the survey.
In fact, other cancers have seen declines in expectations of how many early deaths are likely to occur. One of these is lung cancer, especially in the male population, something that is related to the anti-smoking policies implemented in the country. The finding is a wake-up call for improvement in primary care, early diagnosis and adequate treatment so that bowel cancer also registers a drop in early deaths.
“By taking some preventive measures now, we are going to see a decrease in the incidence down the road”, says Marianna de Camargo Cancela, a researcher at the Inca Prevention and Surveillance Coordination (Conprev) and one of the authors of the study.
The analysis is divided by genres. In men, bowel cancer is what will cause the highest number of premature deaths in Brazil. However, the scenario is different for women: breast and lung are in first and second place, respectively, followed by bowel cancer.
According to Inca estimates for the years 2023 to 2025, this type of cancer is one of the most common in Brazil. According to the data, there will be 45,630 new cases of this type of tumor in the country. The number represents about 10% of all tumors that must be diagnosed in this three-year period when non-melanoma skin cancer is not considered.
The institute includes bowel cancer in the category of colorectal tumors. The rate for this type of tumor is high all over the world, not just in Brazil. Among Brazilian men, only prostate cancer will have a higher prevalence in the next three years. In women, colorectal cancers are also in second place in prevalence in the country, second only to breast cancer. In previous years, the tumor was not the second most common in the country.
Another change observed regarding this type of cancer is the increase in cases among young Brazilians. Colorectal tumors are usually diagnosed in older people, and for this reason it is recommended to have screening tests from the age of 45. But the increase in diagnoses among younger people has worried specialists, not least because it is still an open question.
The reasons for the appearance of cancer in this region of the body are several – hereditary issues is one of them. Advanced age is also a risk factor. In addition, it is important to pay attention to food: the richer the diet is in fats, ultra-processed foods and red meat, the greater the chance of the tumor appearing. On the other hand, a fiber-rich diet is a preventive factor, as is regular physical activity.
The ideal is also to be aware of some symptoms that may be associated with cancer. Blood in the stool and pain with bowel movements are examples that usually appear when the tumor is closer to the rectum. Meanwhile, more nonspecific signs, such as abdominal pain and weakness, tend to arise when the cancer is farther from the rectum.
But it is only with tests that a correct diagnosis will be made. The main tool for this is colonoscopy, a type of endoscopy that evaluates the entire large intestine. If a tumor is suspected, a biopsy should be performed to confirm whether it is a case of cancer or not.
Early diagnosis is important because it increases the chances of cure through surgery to remove the tumor. In some cases, when the disease is detected early, even benign cells can be removed before they evolve into a malignant tumor.
On the other hand, if the cancer has already spread to other organs, chemotherapy is essential.
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