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PREVENTIVE CARE KNOWLEDGE CENTRE

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PREVENTIVE CARE KNOWLEDGE CENTRE

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Why is colorectal cancer screening important for older adults in India?

Written By Samarth Staff | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Anup Bagchi, MBBS, Geriatric specialist

Colorectal cancer is a significant health concern for older adults in India, with incidence rates on the rise. Screening for colorectal cancer is vital for early detection and treatment, offering numerous benefits to individuals. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), colorectal cancer is among the top five cancers affecting both men and women in India, with incidence rates increasing with age. However, early detection through screening can significantly reduce mortality rates and improve overall prognosis. 
Here’s why undergoing colorectal cancer screening is essential:
Colorectal cancer screening helps detect abnormalities in the colon and rectum before symptoms develop, enabling early intervention and improved outcomes. Screening tests such as colonoscopies or stool-based tests can identify precancerous growths or early-stage cancers, allowing for timely treatment and potentially preventing the progression of the disease. Early detection significantly increases the chances of successful treatment and reduces the risk of colorectal cancer-related mortality.

Not undergoing colorectal cancer screening can lead to late-stage diagnosis, resulting in more aggressive treatment options, higher healthcare costs, and poorer prognosis. Delayed detection may also limit treatment options and increase the risk of complications, including metastasis. In India, where access to healthcare services can be challenging, regular colorectal cancer screening becomes even more crucial for older adults.
Frequency and specification:
The recommended frequency for colorectal cancer screening depends on individual risk factors, age, and guidelines. For most individuals aged 50 and above, regular screening is recommended, typically starting with stool-based tests such as fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) and advancing to colonoscopies if abnormalities are detected. Consultation with healthcare providers is essential to determine the appropriate screening schedule based on individual needs and risk factors.

References:
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). (2022). National Cancer Registry Programme: Consolidated Report of Hospital-Based Cancer Registries 2020.

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