Screening of colorectal cancer in a Brazilian town - preliminary results

Rodrigo Oliva Perez Igor Proscurshim Guilherme Pagin São Julião Mauro Picolo Joaquim Gama-Rodrigues Angelita Habr-Gama About the authors

BACKGROUND: The colorectal cancer accounts for about 500,000 deaths/year worldwide and ranks third in death by neoplasia. Patient mortality is directly related to its stage when diagnosed. Screening allows early diagnosis, reason why it turns out to be an effective tool to reduce mortality. AIM: To assess the impacts of the colorectal cancer prevention campaign in a Brazilian municipality, to estimate the disease occurrence and to forecast reduction of its incidence in the long term. METHODS: The Giant Colon, a replica of the human colon, created by ABRAPRECI, was exposed in the local Sports Gymnasium, in order to educate the population on the parts of the organ and the main diseases affecting it. Screening was then performed with the occult blood test kit, (Hemosure®), immunological type, in the population over 40 years of age, asymptomatic and without previous CRC screening. People with negative results were registered for annual control and those with positive result were referred to colonoscopy to determine the presence of neoplasic or pre-neoplasic lesions as well as their treatment. All patients were supposed to be followed up for at least 10 years. People needing surgery or other treatment were referred to neighboring specialized centers. RESULTS: From August 2006 to March 2007, 4,567 Hemosure® tests were delivered to people who met the inclusion criteria. This figure corresponded to 54.8% of the local population over 40 years. Out of this total, 905 (19.8%) were not returned and 22 (0.5%) could not be analyzed. Therefore, 3,640 tests, 43.7% of the target population, were analyzed, totaling 79.7% of the tests handed out. Results were positive in 390 (10.7%) exams and negative in 3,250 (89.3%). Out of the 245 patients with positive result and referred to colonoscopy, 33 (13.5%) refused to undergo the exam. The results of the 212 performed colonoscopies were: 53 patients with diverticular disease, 59 with 1 or more polyps, 9 with adenocarcinoma and 91 were normal. Out of the patients with adenocarcinoma, 3 were treated endoscopically since lesions were small and detected at an early stage and the other 6 were referred to surgery and chemotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: The preliminary results are not sufficient to estimate the actual impact of the campaign. However, it is possible to count on the reduction of CRC occurrence in the long term as well as better prognostics thanks to early detection and staging of the disease.

Colorectal cancer; Screening; Fecal occult blood test

Colégio Brasileiro de Cirurgia Digestiva Av. Brigadeiro Luiz Antonio, 278 - 6° - Salas 10 e 11, 01318-901 São Paulo/SP Brasil, Tel.: (11) 3288-8174/3289-0741 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil