Colorectal cancer screening: a South American perspective

Colorectal Cancer

Rev Gastroenterol Peru. 2020 Jul-Sep;40(3):238-245.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) occupies the first places of cancer incidence and mortality worldwide. There are screening guidelines that must be adapted to the available resources. South America (SA) is a region with characteristics that influences in the behavior of diseases.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A bibliographic review focused on publications originating in SA in the last 10 years was performed by two independents reviewers using Medline, EMBASE and LILACS platforms.

RESULTS: Forty-seven publications were included. There is an increase in the incidence of CRC, mortality and years of life lost. Higher mortality is observed in indigenous populations, older adults, and low socioeconomic strata. Many barriers in the access to screening were observed (lack of knowledge about screening in the population and health professionals, insufficient technical resources). Prevention of CRC is a health challenge where improvement in living conditions is a central part. SA is taking its first steps in the prevention of CRC and the path must contemplate elements inherent of the region. A central point in the development of effective screening strategies is to increase research and scientific production. We consider useful for each country, to evaluate its screening actions taking into account the incidence (high, average or low) to determine if it is convenient to develop structured or opportunistic programs but always starting from the premise that the awareness of the population is essential.

CONCLUSIONS: The great challenge to achieve effective CRC prevention can be summed up in the concept of equity. CRC screening in SA requires leadership, creativity, and the ability to craft responses tailored to each local setting.