Colorectal Screening

      Colorectal cancer is the third cause of cancer death and its incidence is rising. In Italy there are about 38.000 new cases a year with more than 16.000 deaths. In Sicily, it is the fourth cause of death in men (8 % of all deaths from cancer) and the second in women (11 %).

      In its initial stage, the tumor shows few symptoms and it is discovered only in an advanced stage when treatment is hardly effective. In 90% of cases, colorectal cancer is preceded by a benign lesion, the adenomatous polyp.

      The change of the polyp into an invasive tumor and its enlargement is a long process which normally takes a lot of years; therefore periodic screening tests allow to prevent the disease.

      Every two years Palermo ASP sends invitation letters to collect the tube for the fecal occult blood test (FOBT), from the Screening Centres scattered around the province. The test is free of charge for men and women aged between 50 and 69.

      The test, which is of immunological nature, is performed by collecting a small stool sample in a test tube. This is later analyzed in one of our specially equipped laboratories.

      The test, which does not require specific diet restrictions, is able to detect tiny quantities of human blood (hemoglobin) in the stool, not visible to the naked eye, caused by both benign and malignant pathological alterations in the intestine.

      The subjects with positive FOBT test results are invited to do the second stage test: colonoscopy, an endoscopic examination that explores all the intestine by means of a colonoscope, a flexible instrument which allows to examine the inner surface of the organ and remove mucous membrane samples to be analysed. If polyps are found, they may be removed during the test.

      For further information see the site: giscor

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