Inca predicts 44,000 new cases of colorectal cancer in Brazil annually

An estimate by the National Cancer Institute (Inca) indicates the emergence of 44,000 new cases of bowel cancer, or colorectal cancer, in Brazil each year, with 70% concentrated in the southeast and south regions. “It is a very common disease. It’s the third. will lose against [câncer de] mom, you will lose against [câncer de] prostate. In third place is colorectal cancer,” said cancer surgeon Rubens Kesley, coordinator of the Colorectal Cancer Group at INCA.

According to the specialist, developed countries, such as the United States, tend to have more new cases of this type of cancer each year. Among North Americans, who have a population of about 300 million, an estimated 150,000 new cases appear each year. As Brazil is progressively improving its socio-economic status, the outlook is for expanding cases. “There is a dramatic increase. It’s a sharp turn.”

Rubens Kesley recalled that five years ago Brazil had 25,000 new cases/year of colorectal cancer and the forecast for the next five years is to reach 80,000 cases/year. “In a simpler way: today there are 44,000 and they continue to rise. And the incidence will increase a lot.”


A low-fiber diet is linked to an increase in the number of colorectal cancer cases, the cancer surgeon confirmed. This is explained by the fact that as a country’s socioeconomic conditions improve, people start eating more industrialized and ultra-processed foods and stop eating foods with fiber. “Fibre is like a sweeper. Imagine a broom that cleanses the colon, the large intestine. When you stop using the broom, the garbage piles up. Thus, the lack of fiber-rich foods greatly increases the incidence.”

Another factor that can lead to colorectal cancer is red meat, especially that used in barbecues, burnt, with a lot of fat. “Because it is rich in hydrocarbons, which are very carcinogenic”. Boiled meat is best. Other things that favor the onset of intestinal cancer are smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, alcoholism, obesity, especially in the belly. Among these, Kesley highlighted obesity, lack of physical activity and industrialized foods low in fiber as the main factors for the development of colorectal cancer. “These really are the flagship of the more aggressive risk factors.”

Another care that should be taken is with oral health because there is a bacterium in the mouth which favors the development of the disease. “This bacterium is associated with a very high incidence of colorectal cancer.” A recent study conducted by researchers at the Columbia School of Dentistry in New York showed how the Fusobacterium nucleatum, one of the bacteria found in the mouth, can accelerate the growth of this type of cancer. Hence the importance of oral prophylaxis, recommended the doctor.


Around the world, colonoscopy has been considered the most effective method of preventing colorectal cancer, Kesley said. This explains why bowel cancer doesn’t start out great. “He discovered big. But once it was an octopus, it was tiny.” At this stage, colonoscopy removes these small polyps. “Colonoscopy is a weapon, comparable to a nuclear bomb, against colorectal cancer, because it manages to prevent it, identify it early, see it even in the polyp stage, and manages to cure it, because it removes the polyp, without the need to surgery, saving millions. In diagnosis, the doctor identifies that there is a tumor and in treatment, if there is a small tumor, he treats the patient. Cancer is removed by colonoscopy in a few select situations.

The deadline for repeat colonoscopy will depend on whether or not a polyp is present. If the patient undergoes the colonoscopy and everything is normal, he can repeat the examination every five years. If you have a polyp of a specific type (adenoma), which is a precursor to colorectal cancer, the patient should repeat the colonoscopy the following year. The term for the renewal of the exam therefore extends from one to five years.

right age

For the vast majority of the population, who have no family history of cancer, are healthy patients, at very low risk, who do not smoke or drink, have normal daily bowel movements, the ideal is to undergo a colonoscopy at 55 years of age. “But this needs to be seen by the coloproctologist. This is a medical decision because, depending on the risk, you may need it sooner,” warned the specialist.

In the case, for example, of people who have a history of cancer in the family, as happened with the actress Angelina Jolie, they can’t wait. You need to look for a good professional who will tell you the best time to do a colonoscopy.

This examination can be done, however, before the age of 55, in the presence of symptoms. Patients with anemia or recurring pain (intestinal cramps) should consult a doctor to rule out the risk of colorectal cancer. In this case we are dealing with patients with alterations in bowel habits, i.e. the frequency with which they evacuate, which include diarrhea or constipation with colic.

advanced stage

According to Rubens Kesley, the lack of colonoscopists, especially in the interior of the country, means that most patients are diagnosed with advanced stage bowel cancer, as happened to footballers Pelé and Roberto Dinamite. “Usually, this advanced stage is a major determinant of cancer severity.” That is, the stage of the disease determines the prognosis.

Instead, the Inca surgeon stressed that the evolution of treatment has been so great in recent years that even if the stage is very advanced, there is a chance of survival. Of all colorectal cancer patients, 20% survive, 80% die. “It’s worth running after the patient because, even if the stage is very advanced, it can be treated”. The chance of healing is less. Out of five patients with advanced cancer, one will survive. “But there is a possibility. If we can save one in five, that’s a big step forward,” Kesley said.

He admitted, however, that cancer is still a challenge for science. The disease is a mutation of the DNA, which is protected by two membranes. Unfortunately, there are currently no drugs that can rearrange DNA. So when a patient already has disease that is resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and has already spread, cancer treatment becomes ineffective. In the case of Pelé and Roberto Dinamite, the tumor had already become resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and the surgery was useless. That is, when the cancer cells have spread, the chance of recovery is greatly reduced.

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