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tumor is one of the most common in Brazil

This Tuesday, January 10, Preta Gil announced on her social networks that she was diagnosed with bowel cancer. The 48-year-old singer discovered the disease after feeling discomfort and being hospitalized in Rio de Janeiro on the 5th.

“Thank God, today I received a definitive diagnosis. I have Adenocarcinoma in the final portion of my intestine. I start my treatment next Monday and I'm counting on everyone's energy to remain calm and confident,” he wrote on Instagram.


Worldwide, intestinal tumors – which include those that begin both in the part of the large intestine called the colon and in its final portion, in the rectum and anus – are responsible for around 10% of all cancer diagnoses worldwide. , with 1.9 million new cases annually and 935 thousand deaths, according to the Globocan survey, by the World Health Organization (WHO). In Brazil, according to the National Cancer Institute (INCA), the disease ranks second in incidence volume, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, in men and women, behind only prostate and breast neoplasms, respectively. . The entity estimates that throughout 2023, 45,630 new cases of intestinal tumors will be identified.

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In the artist's case, the type detected was adenocarcinoma, which in 90% of cases originates from polyps in the colorectal region which, if not identified and treated early, end up changing over the years and can become cancerous. The main form of diagnosis and prevention is through colonoscopy, in which a flexible tube with a camera at the tip is introduced into the intestine and takes images that reveal the presence of possible changes, including the removal of polyps and biopsies of suspicious injuries. In Brazil, the Ministry of Health recommends starting screening for colon and rectal cancer in the adult population at usual risk in the age group of 50 years – but many countries have already reduced it to 45 years of age.

“Most intestinal tumors appear from so-called polyps, which are benign lesions that grow on the internal wall of the organ, but which, if not identified preventively, can evolve and become malignant over time. After the age of 50, the chance of presenting polyps increases, reaching between 18% and 36%, which consequently represents an increase in the risk of malignant tumors resulting from the condition from this stage of life onwards and that is why it was established as a criterion to start active tracing. In addition to detecting these polyps, colonoscopy allows them to be removed, which works as another way to prevent cancer”, explains oncologist Renata D'Alpino, co-leader of the gastrointestinal and neuroendocrine tumors specialty at Grupo Oncoclínicas.

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She reminds that people with a personal history of polyps or inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, as well as family records of colorectal cancer in one or more first-degree relatives, especially if diagnosed before the age of 45, should pay attention doubled and carry out periodic controls before the base age indicated for the general population. And be warned: when discovered at an early stage, colorectal cancer has a cure rate of over 90%.


Still, the doctor states that there are many taboos surrounding preventive screening for colorectal cancer, which contributes to low adherence to early control of the disease, even among people who are part of the group at increased risk. “Often, the tumor is only discovered late, in the face of more severe symptoms, such as anemia; constipation or diarrhea without apparent causes; weakness; gas and abdominal cramps; and weight loss. Although blood in the stool is an initial indication that something is not going well with your health, many people tend to attribute this occurrence to other conventional causes, such as hemorrhoids, and end up postponing seeking medical advice and carrying out specific tests. This means that many people only discover cancer in advanced stages”, says Renata D'Alpino.

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Incidence increases among young adults

For the Oncoclínicas oncologist, another point of great relevance in the fight against bowel cancer is the establishment of a clearer recommendation for screening asymptomatic cases, when there are no signs of classic symptoms that could raise suspicions – in the case of common bleeding visible in the stool. – among the portion of the population under 50 years of age. Among the possible actions, she highlights an initiative led by the US Preventive Services Task Force that considers that less invasive tests could be started earlier and repeated at shorter intervals compared to colonoscopy. Furthermore, it plans to change the screening age to 45 years, and should be repeated every 5 years in case of normal results, as has been suggested since 2019 by the American Cancer Society (ACS).

“In the USA, the debate about a possible change in protocol, adopting the age of 45 as the recommended age for starting periodic screening, is being based on the evaluation of hundreds of surveys and clinical trials that take into account the profile of asymptomatic people in the age group over 40 years old. A possible way to increase the chances of prevention would be to recommend stool research, through immunochemical tests and fecal occult blood tests in younger people who do not present noticeable health changes. According to the results, if there are suspicious findings, a colonoscopy would then be performed”, highlights the specialist.


One of the scientific studies that support the argument was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and carried out in the United States from 1974 to 2014. The analysis showed that in people between 20 and 39 years of age, for example, the number of new cases of Bowel cancer has been growing annually, between 1% and 2.4%, since the 1980s. Rectal cancer cases, in people between 20 and 29 years of age, had an average annual increase of approximately 3.2%. %, since 1974.

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“To a large extent, these results point to a consequence of less healthy lifestyle habits, with a higher rate of sedentary lifestyle and consumption of ultra-processed foods such as soft drinks, snacks and canned foods. Genetic predisposition counts as a risk, but we must not forget that there are other factors that can contribute to the onset of the disease, such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, a diet rich in red meat, smoking and alcoholism. And these are factors that are part of 'modern life' and help to uncover the reasons why we should raise awareness about the impacts of our personal decisions on the growth of cancer cases – and not just colorectal cancer”, concludes Renata D'Alpino .

Featured Photo: Reproduction


tumor is one of the most common in Brazil

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