Colon cancer kills more

CANCER OF the digestive tract and colon is  one of the worst killers in Portugal, according to Évora Oncology Hospital.

A diet rich in fat and meat, low in fruit, fresh vegetables and fibre is partly responsible for the disease, which kills 3,000 Portuguese a year.

Speaking on National Day for Digestive Tract Cancer Awareness, Dr. Sérgio Barroso said that, in Portugal, according to official figures, five million new cases of the disease are diagnosed annually.

The disease often mimics the symptoms of other digestive tract diseases from indigestion, stomach ache and spastic colon, and so often isn’t detected until in an advanced stage when it has already spread to other parts of the body.

In fact, 25 per cent of all cases are only seriously investigated at a time when the tumours have already spread throughout the body.

According to statistics, only three in every 100 patients with an advanced cancer of the digestive tract survive more than five years.

“The problem is that people often only go to the doctor when it is often too late to cure the disease,” explained Dr. Sérgio Barroso. Warning signs are a lack of appetite, unexplained loss of weight, abdominal pain, and blood detected in the faeces.

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