The month of March is dedicated to raising awareness about colon cancer, and data from the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) show that this disease is detected at an early stage in only 11 percent of cases, so due to the late detection of the disease, the five-year survival rate is about 51%.
In 33% of people, the disease is discovered when it has already spread regionally, and in 13% of people, distant metastases were present at the time of diagnosis.
Every day, six people die from this malignant disease. At the same time, the turnout of Croatians for routine colorectal cancer screening, amounts to a low 25%.
About 3,600 people are diagnosed with this cancer annually, 60% of whom are men. The disease is more common in the elderly, however, almost a fifth of patients are under 60.
According to the latest data from the Cancer Register, in 2020, 3,396 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and the average age at the time of the disease was 70.
The data show a drop in incidence of about 10% percent compared to 2019, but this is not the result of a real decrease in the incidence of this type of cancer, but rather the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.
If colon cancer is detected in a localized stage when the disease has not spread, the five-year survival is about 90 percent.
Colorectal cancer is one of the leading public health problems in Croatia.
The Ministry of Health announced that the goal, as part of the new programme for early detection of the disease, which will be implemented in family medicine offices, is to increase the response by at least 20 percent in the next five years.
After breast cancer and lung cancer, colon and rectal cancer is the most common type of cancer in the world. In terms of mortality from malignant diseases, colorectal cancer ranks second in Croatia, after lung cancer.
According to European Commission estimates for EU member states, the incidence rates of new cases of colorectal cancer are highest in Slovakia, Denmark, Hungary and the Netherlands, while mortality is highest in Eastern European countries.
Croatia ranks 9th in terms of incidence of colon cancer, and ranks 2nd in terms of mortality.
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