Inside a giant colon on Place d'Armes; Credit: MSAN

This past Saturday 10 March, the Luxembourg Ministry of Health and the Division of Preventive Medicine gathered in Place d’Armes to spread awareness about colorectal cancer.

In order to answer questions concerning the development and the prevention of colorectal cancer and to better inform the public about risk factors and early detection, the Ministry of Health and Division of Preventive Medicine of the Health Directorate invited members of the public to discover the interior of a giant colon, installed on the Place d'Armes in Luxembourg City.

Guided by health professionals, people of all ages came in large numbers and were particularly interested in the development of the Organised Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme (PDOCCR), launched in September 2016.

This form of cancer develops especially from the age of 50 years. Thus, the PDOCCR is primarily intended for people aged 55 to 74 years. Since the launch of the programme and until May 2018, more than 120,000 residents of the Grand Duchy will be invited by mail to take the test for free.

To date, 27,318 tests have already been carried out, of which 2,119 showed a positive result. As part of the programme, 1,662 colonoscopies were also performed. During these incidents, 48 cancers could be diagnosed.

In Luxembourg, colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women, and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Each year about 280 new cases are detected and the illness kills about 124 people a year.

The main prevention tips include avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, alcohol and animal fats, undertaking screening- for those at risk- demonstrated by a stool analysis, and then excised during a colonoscopy, to avoid degeneration of these into proven cancers, and screening for early cancers, demonstrated by a stool analysis and then excised during a colonoscopy, to avoid disabling treatments and improve chances of a favourable prognosis.