MONTEVIDEO – Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of death among Uruguayan women and the third among men in that South American country, Public Health Minister Jorge Basso said on Thursday.
“Colon cancer in Uruguay has steadily become more frequent and now has become, in terms of statistics, the No. 2 cancer in women and the No. 3 in men, and the mortality rates from this cancer have been rising in particular,” Basso told reporters at an awareness-raising and prevention event in Montevideo that was open to the public.
The minister said the prevalence and mortality rates of other types of cancer have decreased but that the country was struggling to detect colon cancer at an early stage.
Basso said the only way to achieve an early diagnosis was by using a test that detects blood hidden in feces.
The test is recommended for adults 50 years or older, but the minister said neither men nor women were undergoing the fecal blood screens with the necessary frequency.
The coordinator of the Digestive Cancer Program, Eduardo Fenocchi, told EFE the event was part of a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the causes of and ways to prevent colon cancer.
Around 1,800 people die each year from colon cancer in Uruguay, a mortality rate that is similar to that of the United States and Canada, Fenocchi said.