In order to decrease the number of colorectal cancer deaths each year, doctors and other medical personnel have constantly urged their patients who have high risk of developing this disease to seek early screening. However, these patients often do not receive screening due to the high costs of the procedures. A research team from Tel Aviv University may have found a possible solution to this dilemma.
Anemia is one of the many symptoms of colon cancer. This disorder is characterized by low levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the blood. According to their study, the scientists at the university have observed patients to have a history of consistently diminishing hemoglobin levels before the diagnosis of colon cancer. As a result, they now believe that careful analysis of regular blood test results can be an effective tool for the detection of this ailment.
“In practice, a doctor will look at the final [blood test] results, and see if the hemoglobin levels are within a normal range. But, this is not accurate enough. It is important to look at the continuing trend of each individual. If a person experiences a consistent decline relative to his own average level, it may be cause for concern,” said Inbal Goldshtein, a graduate student at the university.
If the connection between constantly declining hemoglobin levels and developing colon cancer is also established by other experiments, blood tests can be effective detection methods for this disease. Moreover, because these tests are very inexpensive when compared to colonoscopies and other procedures, they can easily be combined with routine medical examinations by a family physician. Consequently, patients will be receiving the early screening for colon cancer that they are encouraged to seek.