Early detection programme for colorectal cancer (CRC)

Areas of Operation in Barcelona Esquerra and Barcelona Litoral Mar Districts

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers among people over 50 years of age, and is the second-leading cause of death from cancer in Catalonia, after lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women. In all, 5.4% of men and 3.1% of women develop it before the age of 74. In Catalonia, 4,500 new cases are diagnosed each year.

In most cases, colorectal cancer develops from small lesions (polyps) inside the intestine. Colorectal cancer usually does not cause discomfort until the disease is well advanced, and thus early diagnosis is so important in detecting the cancer before the onset of symptoms.

The Early Detection Programme for Colorectal Cancer focuses on the population between 50 and 69 years old, and aims mainly at preventing and reducing cases of mortality for this type of cancer. It consists of performing a simple test every two years to detect small amounts of blood in the stool, which are not visible to the naked eye.

Visit the website of the Early Detection Programme for Colorectal Cancer for more information.

The results are quite positive

In 2012 the programme commenced its second round of screening. During the first round in 2011, close to 80,000 people living in the districts of Ciutat Vellla, Eixample, Sants-Montjuïc, Les Corts and Sant Martí in Barcelona were screened. This screening allowed for the early detection and treatment of 343 patients with cancer and 1,973 with polyps at risk of becoming malignant. The latest results are available on the programme's website.

Collaboration among hospitals, pharmacies and primary care establishments is a key factor in getting people who are at risk age to undergo an early detection screening test for colorectal cancer.