Colon cancer is one of the top five most prevalent cancers in South Africa. This highly prevalent disease has a low survival rate at late stage diagnosis and also carries high treatment costs.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month across the globe and in the spirit of awareness, a simple, clinically-proven and non-invasive Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), called the UDoColonTest™, is now available in SA and making great inroads in the diagnosis of the disease.
According to the most recent available statistics in the National Cancer Registry South Africa, it is estimated that one in 85 men and one in 144 women could develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. Allison Martin, CEO at UDoTest™ that offers the UDoColonTest™ says, “Like any cancer, early diagnosis is key to survival. With our test now available in South Africa, there should be no reason for people to avoid screening and for lives to be lost.”
According to recent statistics, patients who are diagnosed with stage 1 colorectal cancer have a 74% five-year survival rate compared with 6% for those diagnosed in Stage IV.
About Colon Cancer
Starting off as small, noncancerous clumps of cells called polyps this silent, sometimes fatal, disease may become cancerous when dangerous polyps are not identified and removed. The South African Gastroenterology Society (SAGES) recommends that people with average risk for colorectal cancer (no personal, family or medical history) should be offered screening from the age of 50. The UDoColonTest™ allows patients to perform their own colon cancer screening in the comfort of their own home.
Martin explains, “Because there are no definitive guidelines for colorectal cancer screening in South Africa, colonoscopies are either not done or done too often and may be unnecessary in some cases. The market needs to be educated because colon cancer has a 94% survival rate if detected early.” In addition, a recent cost analysis of colorectal cancer shows that treatment costs are far higher in advanced stages of the disease with informal costs such as palliative care contributing a significant amount.
Dr Reeve Charles Jobson, gastroenterologist at Sandton Clinic, is impressed that the FIT tests, used by millions in the USA, are now available in South Africa. American healthcare funders, such as Kaiser Permanente, recommend that individuals aged 50+ do an annual FIT test or undergo a colonoscopy every five to 10 years depending on their risk.
If a FIT test comes back positive, then a colonoscopy is recommended. “There is a need for additional screening in South Africa,” comments Dr Jobson. After partnering with US-based biotechnology company, Clinical Genomics, the non-invasive UDoColonTest was launched in South Africa in 2016.
Find out more at: UDoColonTest™.
Source: UDoColonTest™. Image: Pixabay