KOLOREKTUM.CZ | COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING [ISSN 1804-0888]
česky | english | site map


NOP

PARTNERS AND EXPERT GUARANTORS
Partners and expert guarantors: MZ ČR, ČGS, SVL, SPL ČR, ČGPS, ČOS, VIZE
Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University
PROJECT SUPPORT
Project support: Roche, Ipsen, Orion Diagnostica, OnkoMaják
For the public SCREENING GUIDE

Interactive guide to colorectal cancer screening

 
 

 

 
 

Colorectal cancer symptoms:

The symptoms of colorectal cancer may include any of the following:

  • a change in your normal bowel habit
  • diarrhoea or constipation
  • blood in the stool
  • persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
  • feeling of not having emptied your bowel properly after a bowel motion
  • unexplained weight loss
  • weakness or fatigue
All these symptoms can be caused by a number of other, non-malignant diseases. The exact cause of your problem can be only revealed by a specialist.

I have at least one of the above mentioned symptoms.

I do not have any of the above mentioned symptoms.


Recommendation for symptomatic patients:

If your symptoms persist, don't hesitate and go to see your GP or a gastroenterologist (a specialist in the diseases of the digestive system).


 

Increased risk of colorectal cancer:

Have you been diagnosed with:

Adenomatous polyp or colorectal cancer?

Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, idiopathic proctocolitis)?

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)?

 

Have your parents, siblings or children been diagnosed with:

Adenomatous polyp or colorectal cancer?

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)?

 

Have at least three of your relatives been affected with colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, small bowel cancer, malignant neoplasm of ureter or renal pelvis?

Out of those affected relatives, have one of them been a first-degree relative of other two? (Examples: grandfather + father + son, mother + her two children etc.)

Have some of those affected relatives been diagnosed with any type of cancer before the age of 50?

If colorectal cancer occurred in some of those affected relatives, did the doctors exclude familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)?

 

None of the above mentioned options is true.


Recommendation for patients with hereditary risk:

Consult your risk with your GP or gastroenterologist. You might be put into a so-called follow-up programme (a programme destined for clients with higher risk of colorectal cancer) which will monitor your health condition and significantly decrease your risk of colorectal cancer. Such a programme can involve an earlier start of colorectal cancer screening, genetic counselling for you and your family, and most importantly, regular endoscopic follow-up performed by an experienced gastroenterologist.

Remember that the early consultation and adequate preventive care can save your life or your relatives' lives. Don't forget to inform your doctor about your diseases and about diseases that occurred in your family.


 

Your age:

Age is an important risk factor for colorectal cancer. If you are aged 50 years or over, you are entitled to a preventive examination which is fully reimbursed from the public health insurance. Recommended examinations for the prevention of colorectal cancer can vary according to your age:

I am less than 50 years old.

I am 50-54 years old.

I am 55+ years old.


Clients under 50 years:

It seems that you don't have hereditary risk of colorectal cancer, therefore you are not considered to belong to the high-risk population. Your risk of colorectal cancer might slightly increase after the age of 50. However, you can limit your risk by leading a healthy lifestyle (varied diet involving enough fruits and vegetables, limited consumption of alcohol, non-smoking, and adequate physical activity). If you later develop any symptoms which might be related to colorectal cancer, don't hesitate and go to see your GP.


 

Faecal occult blood test once a year:

At the age of 50-54 years, you are entitled to have a free faecal occult blood test once a year. Your GP or gynaecologist can prescribe this test for you.

More about faecal occult blood test...

 

Faecal occult blood test (FOBT) is very simple and totally painless. Screening programmes have clearly shown the reduction of mortality from colorectal cancer. However, FOBT is definitely not a "cancer test"! A positive result can be a sign of polyps, Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis. If your FOBT turns out positive and you want to be sure that you don’t have colorectal cancer, then you have no other option than to undergo the screening colonoscopy.

More about screening colonoscopy...

 

Unfortunately, FOBT itself is not enough to establish a definite diagnosis. If the test result turns out positive (i.e., blood is found in your stool), you will be recommended to undergo the colonoscopy – the only procedure which can reveal the exact cause of bleeding.


Choice between two types of screening examinations:

At the age of 55 years and above, you can choose between two types of screening examinations:

 

Screening colonoscopy

Endoscopic examination of colon and rectum, which is performed by a gastroenterologist in an accredited centre for screening colonoscopy.

Map of accredited colonoscopy centres...

Colonoscopy is a highly reliable method: if everything turns out to be OK, you can be almost 100% sure that you will not develop colorectal cancer in the next ten years.

 

Faecal occult blood test

The faecal occult blood test (FOBT) detects small amounts of blood in your faeces which you would not normally see or be aware of. The test is very simple and totally painless. Unfortunately, FOBT itself is not enough to establish a definite diagnosis. If the test result is positive (i.e., blood is found in your stool), you will be recommended to undergo the colonoscopy – the only procedure which can reveal the exact cause of bleeding.


Screening colonoscopy:

If you are aged 55 years or above, you are entitled to a free colonoscopy (endoscopic examination of colon and rectum by a specialist) every ten years. Look at our map to find the nearest centre and contact the local staff to make an appointment.

Map of screening centres...

 

The screening colonoscopy is definitely much more reliable than the faecal occult blood test (FOBT). A colonoscopic examination even allows the removal of suspect outgrowths (polyps) from the intestinal wall, which could later turn into carcinomas. However, colonoscopy is not very popular among the public and many patients are very afraid of it. But these fears are often groundless.

First of all, it must be taken into consideration that each person has another pain threshold. For this reason, some people don’t have any problems with colonoscopy, while others consider it to be a very disagreeable procedure. The combination of analgesics and sedatives, however, make the whole procedure bearable even for more sensitive individuals.

More about screening colonoscopy...

 

Faecal occult blood test every two years:

If you are aged 55 years or above, you are entitled to a free faecal occult blood test (FOBT) every two years. Your GP or gynaecologist can prescribe this test for you.

More about faecal occult blood test...

 

Faecal occult blood test (FOBT) is very simple and totally painless. Screening programmes have clearly shown the reduction of mortality from colorectal cancer. However, FOBT is definitely not a "cancer test"! A positive result can be a sign of polyps, Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis. If your FOBT turns out positive and you want to be sure that you don’t have colorectal cancer, then you have no other option than to undergo the screening colonoscopy.

More about screening colonoscopy...

 

Unfortunately, FOBT itself is not enough to establish a definite diagnosis. If the test result turns out positive (i.e., blood is found in your stool), you will be recommended to undergo the colonoscopy – the only procedure which can reveal the exact cause of bleeding.

At the age of 55 years and above, you can also undergo screening colonoscopy directly. This type of examination is much more reliable and effective. If you are lucky enough and not even a single polyp is revealed during this examination, then you can be almost 100% sure that you will not develop colorectal cancer in the next ten years.