Gurugram, March 31


private hospital here on Friday exhibited a first of its kind three-dimensional colon structure that enables people to take an immersive experience to raise awareness on prevention, early detection, timely intervention and treatment of colorectal cancer.

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March is observed as colorectal cancer awareness month.

Lit in blue lights -- the official colon cancer colour -- symbolising solidarity in the fight against the disease, Medanta hospital set up the innovative colon-shaped tunnel at the entrance.

It offers an immersive, visually stimulating experience for each visitor at the hospital and highlights the symptoms and stages of colorectal cancer.

"This is Asia's first such colon tunnel, the walk-through educational exhibit aims to create awareness in masses about the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer as well as the other diseases of the colon," Dr Amanjeet Singh, Director iamp; Head of Colorectal Surgery, Medanta, told IANS.

Colon cancer is the second most common type of cancer in India, and it is estimated that the country will have almost 44,000 new cases of colon cancer by 2025.

Studies have pointed out that the incidence of colon cancer in India is on a sharp rise, with almost 25 per cent cases being reported among the younger generation in the last 2 decades.

"While colon cancer was once known as an old man's disease, there has been an increase in cases among young adults due to factors such as childhood obesity and genetic factors. The aggressive variety of cancers like signet ring type are more common in younger populations, leading to higher mortality rates. In contrast, elderly patients usually have less aggressive cancers and respond well to treatment," Singh said.

A major concern is that in India most cases get diagnosed at an advanced stage requiring surgical treatment, Singh said, citing a lack of screening programmes and awareness.

Early-stage colon cancer is easily treatable, with survival rates high, but late-stage colon cancer can be difficult to treat, she noted, adding that regular screening can improve early detection, prognosis, and survival rates.

Lifestyle changes such as sedentary habits, consumption of alcohol and smoking, low fibre diet, increased consumption of red meat and high-fat dairy products predispose people to the disease.

"These changes are starting from childhood and contribute to the rise in cases. Genetics also plays a role, and anyone diagnosed with colon cancer before the age of 40 is more likely to have genetic predisposition, requiring genetic screening. It is becoming an epidemic," Singh told IANS.

"We advise high-risk groups, including those with a family history of colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or a personal history of colon polyps, to undergo early screening.

"Symptoms such as recent changes in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, rectal bleeding, and unexplained anaemia, especially in persons above the age of 40 years warrant consultation with a doctor and screening for colon cancer.

"Colon cancer is unique, as it is a lifestyle-related cancer, and can be prevented through dietary changes, quitting smoking and alcohol, and maintaining an active lifestyle," Singh said.

Colorectal cancer: Gurugram hospital exhibits a 3D walkthrough colon

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