Colorectal cancer

Jiří, 57 YEARS OLD

  • The disease was diagnosed at a slightly advanced stage
  • I receive targeted biological treatment in combination with chemotherapy
  • I have mild adverse effects
  • My hospitalization was shorter by one-third
  • I do not receive a disability pension
  • My disease is curable in the long term

Patients with colorectal cancer live on average 4 years longer than 10 years ago.

COLORECTAL CANCER

Colorectal cancer, also known as colon and rectal cancer, is one of the second most common cancers in men and women in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic has the highest incidence of colorectal cancer among European countries. Thanks to progress in research and the availability of modern therapeutic and diagnostic methods, this disease is usually diagnosed early. Patients live longer and the treatment has a positive overall impact on the quality of their life.

The tumor can develop in any part of the colon or rectum. The main symptoms of this disease include changes in stool regularity, alternation of diarrhea and constipation, presence of blood in the stool, digestive problems, weight loss, anemia and fatigue. There are usually no symptoms until advanced cancer develops (metastases). This is why colorectal cancer screening is very important. The number of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) keeps increasing, but mortality is gradually decreasing. The highest chance of a complete cure lies in an early diagnosis of the disease.

Patients with colorectal cancer live longer

„Biological treatment in combination with chemotherapy has significantly advanced the survival rate of patients with generalized cancer. Although advanced colorectal cancer cannot be cured, it is now considered a chronically treatable disease. In addition, tumors diagnosed at an early stage can be permanently cured by surgery and follow-up treatment,“ says Mgr. Jakub Dvořáček, MHA, executive director of the Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry (AIFP).

Today, multiple anticancer drugs are available that can be administered both individually and in combination. “Innovative treatment has a demonstrable impact on prolonging patients' lives. In many cases, patients are not completely cured, but the quality of their life is fundamentally better,” says Bc. Tomáš Kubera, executive director and member of the Executive Board of the civic association ONKOMAJÁK, z.s.

The number of hospitalized patients has dropped by one-third

There is a screening program in the Czech Republic (stool examination and/or colonoscopy) in which people aged 50 or more should periodically participate. In certain cases, such as a genetic burden or the occurrence of alarming symptoms (for example, blood in the stool), an examination at a much younger age is necessary. This helps to diagnose tumors much earlier.

This means that the number of patients is increasing, but mortality is decreasing – e.g. in 2016, there were more than 55,000 patients with this disease in the Czech Republic, but mortality dropped to 3,400 cases. The number of patients requiring hospitalization has also decreased; in 2016, this decrease represented one-third as compared to the year 2009.

„The data from the Czech Social Security Administration also show a total savings of 486 million Czech Crowns on disability pensions due to colorectal cancer between 2010 and 2017,“ concludes Jakub Dvořáček.

BETWEEN 2010 AND 2017, DISABILITY PENSION SAVINGS RELATED TO COLORECTAL CANCER
amounted to
CZK 0million
LIFE EXPECTANCY
of patients aged 50+ is on average higher by
0four years

THE PATIENT ORGANIZATION’S COMMENT

Treatment is currently getting better, more effective and more gentle and so patients live longer and have a relatively good life. If treatment “works,” it brings improvement to patients. Sometimes, however, the tumor does not respond to treatment. In my opinion, the problem is that innovative treatment cannot be received until cheaper treatment is exhausted, that is, until it is obvious that cheaper treatment did not improve the patient’s condition. However, by then the patient is already considerably weakened. Treatment is hard on the patient’s body as well as on the patient’s psyche. Correctly indicated treatment almost always brings improvement. This should be taken into account, although treatment is expensive and biological treatment is still relatively unavailable. I believe that in most cases innovative treatment is less burdensome for patients than e.g. chemotherapy that some physicians prescribe as "prevention" and often unnecessarily and without indication. On the other hand, I understand that biological treatment is not suitable for every patient.

Marie Ředinová, 
České ILCO, z.s. 

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