Colorectal cancer severity, mortality on the rise due to Covid-19 pandemic: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 12, 2020

They found that moderate (7-12 months) and large (>12 months) delays in screening caused 3% and 7% rise in advanced-stage CRC respectively

Delays in the treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) due to the novel coronavirus pandemic has led to increased death rates, according to a new study presented at the UEG Week Virtual 2020.

For the study, researchers at the University of Bologna designed a model to speculate the impact of time delays in CRC screening on CRC mortality caused by Covid-19.

They found that moderate (7-12 months) and large (>12 months) delays in screening caused 3 per cent and 7 per cent increase in advanced-stage CRC respectively.

They also noticed that based on survival rates at five years for advanced stage III-IV CRC, there has been a significant 11.9 per cent increase in deaths, when comparing a 0-3-month delay to a > 12-month delay.

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The reason behind the suspension of CRC screening across Europe is the coronavirus-triggered lockdown and overwhelming numbers of hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

Lead author of the study, Professor Luigi Ricciardiello, said in an official release: “Across the globe, healthcare systems are facing serious difficulties while dealing with Covid-19, and it is imperative that support is given to the public and patients throughout the crisis, including for high-impact diseases such as colorectal cancer.”

He added: “Healthcare authorities need to act urgently on how they reorganise activities during Covid-19, without compromising the diagnosis of other high-impact diseases like this research shows.”

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The authors of the study noted that unhealthy lifestyles, such as diets high in processed foods, smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption are linked to the development of CRC.

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CRC symptoms include persistent rectal bleeding, a change in bowel habits, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss.

Professor Ricciardiello concluded: “It is therefore, essential that vital diagnosis tools like screening programs continue and help to precvent mortality rates from rising even further.”

Published on October 12, 2020

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