The singer shared the diagnosis after tests showed the presence of an adenocarcinoma tumor in the final portion of the intestine.
Singer Preta Gil, 48, took to social media to say she had been diagnosed with bowel cancer, also called colorectal cancer, after tests showed the presence of an adenocarcinoma tumor in the final portion of the bowel. ‘organ.
Adenocarcinoma is the type of malignant tumor that caused the singer’s bowel cancer. It develops into polyps (abnormal growth of tissue in regions such as the intestines) which, although considered benign, if not identified and treated early, can change over the years and become cancerous.
In the specific case of intestinal cancers, doctors explain that many develop asymptomatically, which underlines the importance of screening tests (read more below).
Risk factors for bowel cancer
Intestinal cancer, also known as colon or colorectal cancer, is the second most frequent in the digestive system and the third most common killer in Brazil, according to INCA (National Cancer Institute). Other famous personalities, such as former players Pelé and Roberto Dinamite, have also suffered from the disease.
It is estimated that more than 40,000 new cases appear in the country every year.
The disease affects both sexes, generally from the age of 45, and is more frequent in the 60-70 age range. Among the risk factors, the following stand out:
– Unhealthy eating habits
– Sedentary lifestyle;
– Smoking and heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages;
– Family history of colorectal, ovarian, uterine and/or breast cancer;
– Pre-existing diseases such as chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and hereditary intestinal diseases.
signs of colorectal cancer
Oncological surgeon and president of SBCO (Brazilian Society of Oncological Surgery), Héber Salvador, explains that colorectal cancer can develop silently for a while, without showing any symptoms. Discovery is often made through screening tests.
“It is essential to perform colonoscopy from the age of 45 in people without symptoms – or (from) 35 years, if there is a history of cancer in the family. This examination can prevent the disease, because, through it, it is possible remove polyps, which are trapped lesions in the wall of the intestines that could develop into cancer,” he explains.
It is also important to pay attention to some symptoms:
– Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhoea, constipation or strictures that last for a few days;
– Even after the evacuation there is no feeling of relief, it seems that not all the faecal contents have been eliminated (particularly suggestive symptom in cases of rectal cancer);
– Rectal bleeding (the blood is usually very red and shiny);
– Presence of blood in the stools, making them dark brown or black;
– Colic or abdominal pain;
– Feeling tired and weak; And
– Weight loss for no apparent reason
Early diagnosis helps save lives
“The first step in diagnosing colorectal cancer is taking a patient’s medical history to identify any risk factors. Physical examination may include palpation of the abdomen for abnormalities, such as masses or enlarged organs,” she points out. Renata D’Alpino, oncologist and co-leader of the gastrointestinal tumors specialty at Grupo Oncoclínicas.
Subsequently, the doctor may order a colonoscopy, the most used test for screening and which, according to the doctor Ricardo Viebig, has changed the history of bowel cancer.
“The exam has become more accessible and people have begun to understand the importance of having it since the age of 45. The detection and removal of precancerous lesions (adenomas) and small tumor lesions have increased the cure rate and have avoided a lot of aggressive surgery or debilitating treatments,” clarifies Viebig, who is technical director of the digestive motility core of neurogastroenterology at IGESP hospital (Institute of Gastroenterology of São Paulo).
Despite the advances, Renata D’Alpino says there are many taboos surrounding preventive screening for colorectal cancer, which contributes to poor adherence to early disease control even among people in the highest group. risk.
“Often, the tumor is discovered only later, in the face of more severe symptoms, such as anemia; constipation or diarrhea with no apparent cause; weakness; gas and abdominal cramps; and weight loss. Although blood in the stool is an indication initial that something is not right health, many people tend to attribute this event to other conventional causes, such as hemorrhoids, and end up putting off seeking a medical opinion and carrying out specific tests”.
Other tests that support the diagnosis and treatment are the dosage of specific antibodies (markers), tomography, magnetic resonance and Pet Scan (special tomography for tumors).
The need for rapid diagnosis is also related to the aggressiveness of colorectal cancers.
When diagnosed early, the chances of a cure are significantly higher and treatment becomes easier, as the cancer is still in its early stages.
“These tumors are generally aggressive and, if left untreated, spread not only locally, but also through the lymphatic and circulatory systems. In this stage, they generate distant lesions, mainly in the liver and brain, as well as the peritoneum, which reduces the life expectancy of the patient,” he concludes.
The first step in the treatment of colorectal cancer is, in general, oncological surgery. In some cases, surgery may be followed by radiation and chemotherapy.
It is worth remembering that cancer is a complex disease, which may require different approaches from case to case. Thus, the entire definition of treatment, as well as therapeutic approaches and the type of surgical intervention performed, depend on the moment of detection of the disease.
This text was originally published in https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral-64237988
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