Europacolon warns of delayed colonoscopies for positive screening tests
The Association for the support of the patient with digestive cancer (Europacolon Portugal) has warned of delays of more than eight months in colonoscopies for people whose stool blood tests are positive and warned that ‘there are patients who come to the emergency room and end up being sent to palliative care.
“There are places more than eight months behind colonoscopies, with positive screening tests. (…) It is very serious because having blood in the stool could already be a bad sign and must be thrown out in time,” Europacolon Portugal president Vitor Neves told Lusa.
The official defended the creation of “a public and transparent recovery plan, which does not stop at the abstract data of the levels of 2019, and that screening for colorectal cancer is, in fact, implemented throughout the territory. , with the appropriate contractual arrangements”.
He also recalled that bowel cancer, when detected in time, is cured and, therefore, stresses that “the lack of follow-up in primary health care must end”.
“It is a public health problem that has persisted for years. Even before the pandemic, there was no population screening in a balanced way and with national coverage (…) it was taking its first steps. With the pandemic, screening has stopped and primary health care has become almost ineffective in the area of symptom assessment and early diagnosis,” he stressed.
The president of the association noted that the cases are now appearing “in a much more advanced state than they appeared” and that there are cases of patients who are taken to the emergency room, while having seizures acute, and that once the complementary diagnoses have been made, many “go for medical care”, palliative care or care that no longer has the same solutions they would have” if the disease were detected early .
“In this disease, screening is the most cost-effective. The cost to results is so low that no one should doubt that it should be implemented,” the official added.
The president calls for greater sensitivity from the government “in terms of coverage, in fact, at the national level” and says that in the north, where kits have already started to be sent to patients’ homes, “c This is exactly where there are delays of more than eight months “in positive test colonoscopies”.
He explained that in cases where stool blood tests are positive, the patient should undergo a colonoscopy within three weeks.
“What Europacolon can also do and what it does is open up the capacity to support people and we have a project to support free home palliative care, in the north of the country, to try to accompanying patients who need and who are not are monitored by the central units, ”he explains.