Food problems are a reality in the country due to the high rates that Chileans represent given being overweight and obese.
Colon cancer is one of the oncological diseases that is most closely related to the type of diet that every person eats.
Ultra processed foods, excess fried foods and foods with less nutritional value negatively affect our body, a fact that can even cause the development of this cancer.
One of the peculiarities of colon cancer is that it has a very long asymptomatic period, ie a stage that can be prevented or diagnosed lasts longer, which is a great advantage. However, one of the big problems is that when a person starts having symptoms, it is mainly because he has an advanced stage of the disease.
“When a person has symptoms, more or less, 50% of patients already have metastases either in nodules or in distant organs,” said Alejandro Barrera, a coloproctologist surgeon at the Universidad de Los Andes and an oncology specialist at the San Borja Clinic Arriarán.
As for people who are at risk to develop it, experts claim that people over the age of 50 are more susceptible to developing this cancer. However, during the last time, they recorded a decline in the age range. Therefore, there are various methods to prevent development, among the most important is the harmonization of healthy eating habits.
“The chances of cancer increase if there is a family history and the presence of inflammatory bowel disease. In addition, a healthy diet is very important for prevention, because the less vegetables are consumed, the less fruit and more processed foods, the higher the risk, ”said Barrera.
Treatments and pandemic
As a result of the pandemic, different ways of treating cancer have affected the context in which the health system finds itself. Experts say this has been a more complex year for cancer patients and that there have been limitations in both the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. “Patients are really afraid to consult, so there are cases with bigger complications. My impression is that we are doing more advanced cases compared to previous years, ”added Dr. Alejandro Barrera.
For his part, Felipe Bellolio, an oncologist from UC Christus Health Network and the Chilean Society of Coloproctology, explained that this cancer, which occurs in the colon, has different clinical manifestations, where the most common are abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, anemia caused by chronic bleeding and changes in intestinal habits, or changes in the normal rhythm of transit.
In addition, he added that, compared to other digestive tumors, when colon cancer is detected early, the survival rate can exceed 85%. However, he warns that, if there is no mass strategy for early detection, the diagnosis of the tumor usually progresses.
Despite the fact that the patient can detect his disease with a more serious condition, he indicated that “in any case the chance of a cure is quite high, as surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy are advanced enough that survival rates exceed about 60%.”
Colon cancer does not have such a high mortality rate compared to other types of cancer, however, doctors confirm that there has been an increase in mortality over the last 10 years and it is expected to increase after a pandemic diagnosis. Because of the above, they advise people over the age of 50 to undergo preventive examinations and encourage them to live a healthier life, where food and sports play a fundamental role in the prevention of these diseases.