Despite being the fourth most common form of cancer across the world, public awareness on colorectal cancer is much lower when compared to lung or tobacco-related cancers.

With the objective of bringing about a change in public perception and detecting such cases early so as to increase the chances of curing it, the Sri Ramakrishna Institute of Oncology and Research here on Monday launched a free screening programme for colorectal cancer to mark the World Cancer Day.

A book on colorectal cancer was also released on the occasion to create public awareness.

Institute Director R. Guhan said that through this campaign, patients would be provided not only screening but also the subsequent investigations and consultations free of cost.

Family history

Prevalent mostly among elders, he said that symptoms of this include, among others, highly altered bowel habits, chronic abdominal discomfort and those with a family history of colorectal cancer.

This month’s screening was being done in collaboration with Arunagiri Colorectal Cancer Trust, formed in memory of the late industrialist S. Arunagiri, himself a victim of this cancer, by his family and class mates from Annamalai University. It provided financial help for treating patients between 25 and 60 years from economically weaker sections.

The World Cancer Day was observed on February 4 every year by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to raise awareness of cancer and encourage its prevention, detection and treatment.

Addressing the inaugural function, Dr. Guhan said, “cancer is not a death sentence as if detected early, it could be cured and the patient could return to normal life.

A case in the point is the Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh who has returned to the team after treatment for lung cancer.”

Dr. Guhan estimated that at least 30 new cases of this cancer were being reported every month in the Coimbatore region.

C. Soundararaj, managing trustee, SNR and Sons, Amutha Arun, permanent trustee, Arunagiri Colorectal Cancer Trust, K. Karthikesh, interventional oncologist, took part in the function.

Colorectal cancer causes uncontrolled cell growth in the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine) or in the appendix.

Those wishing to take this screening could contact (0422) 438 9797/450 0203.