The average occurrence of colorectal cancer in the nation is as high as about one person being diagnosed every 42 minutes, and the average age of patients is also getting younger, the Formosa Cancer Foundation said yesterday.
Two days before World Cancer Day tomorrow, the foundation yesterday released the results of a campaign launched last year on searching for polyps that grow in the large intestine.
A total of 11,891 volunteers applied for inspections and the results showed 638 people were found to have polyps growing in their large intestine, the foundation said.
Chen Chien-hsin (陳建信), a physician and head of the Colorectal Surgery Department in Taipei Medical University’s Wan Fang Hospital, said among 429 participants aged between 21 and 40, 111 people — about 27 percent — were found to have intestinal polyps.
The foundation said the incidence rate of intestinal polyps becoming colorectal cancer is about 20 percent.
A 23-year-old university student in his senior year surnamed Chiu (邱) was found to have an intestinal polyp of about 2cm during a hospital examination, after he discovered frequent blood in his stool during a bicycle tour around the island with a friend last summer.
“I thought it was only broken skin around the anus at first, but the blood in my stools occurred irregularly during the tour,” he said, adding that the situation continued for a month after he returned from the tour.
He signed up to participate in the campaign and was lucky to discover the intestinal polyp at an early stage, and had it surgically removed.
The foundation said that while Chiu’s grandfather died of colorectal cancer, his habit of eating out for nearly every meal with too few fruits and vegetables had caused the intestinal polyp to develop in his large intestine at such a young age.
Chen urged young people to eat out less, choose food that is steamed or boiled with fewer sauces, consume less calories and less fat, and also avoid eating too much red meat, as well as eating more fruit and vegetables and taking more exercise to help prevent intestinal polyps.
Bureau of Health Promotion Director-General Chiu Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said that while 1.03 million people between 50 to 69 years old received fecal occult blood tests last year, a 1.3 times increase in numbers compared with the year before, about 80 percent of people in this age range have not taken the test.
She urged people with a family history of such diseases to be tested regularly.