Colon cancer is the most common cancer in men and women in Curaçao. The chances of survival depend largely on detecting it as early as possible. If you are between 50 and 75 years old, you will receive an invitation for colon cancer (also called bowel or colorectal cancer) screening every two years.
Colon screening at the Curaçao Prevention Center involves testing for traces of blood in your stool (poo). Blood in your poo could be an indication of polyps or cancer and is often invisible to the naked eye. Hence a lab test to detect it when you can’t know yet that it is there.
With this screening, we can also find polyps in the large intestine. These polyps are not cancer yet, but can become cancerous. By removing polyps, colon cancer can be prevented. Since we repeat the colon screening every two years, it is more likely that we will detect polyps early. As a result, fewer people end up with bowel cancer.
What causes colon cancer?
Colon cancer starts as a polyp in the colon. A polyp is a bulge on the inside of the colon. Most polyps are harmless, but colon cancer develops in some polyps. Most people do not notice anything from polyps.
How to participate?
The FIT Test -as this colon screening test is called- is the simplest and easiest screening test we offer. Men and women between 50-75 can pick up a test, do it at home, and bring it back. You are informed within ten working days whether further testing is needed. Although we do send out invitations, all resident males and females between 50-75 can pick up a FIT Test at any of these locations:
- Caribbean Prevention Center
- All ADC (Analytisch Diagnostisch Center) locations
- All MLS (Medical Laboratory Services) locations
Please return the test sample at any of these locations (it doesn’t have to be at the same one you picked it up) within a few hours and keep it refrigerated, especially if you have to keep it at home overnight. Please do not forget to fill in the forms that come in the test kit.
How to do the test at home?
Once you have fetched your colon test at our offices or at any outlet of the ADC or MLS laboratories, you wait for your next bowel movement to do the test. Before you start, check the expiration date on the test tube, fill in the forms and watch this instructional video. Follow the instructions carefully. Pay attention that there is a green and a white end of the tube. Unscrew only the green part and DO NOT open the other end.If you do so by accident, please fetch a new test and discard the wrongly opened one.
Bring the test back to any of the locations mentioned and keep it cold (refrigerated) if you are not returning it the same day.
What are the possible results?
You can receive one of the following two results:
1 No follow-up examination is needed
We did not find blood in your stool. If you have not reached the age of 75 in two years, you will receive another invitation for the screening program.
95 out of 100 people have no blood in their stool
2 A follow-up examination is necessary
We found blood in your stool. Blood in your stool could be linked to polyps or colon cancer. There may also be other innocent and benign reasons for blood in the stool, like ruptured veins around the anus, polyps, etc. To further investigate what is causing blood in the stool we recommend doing a colonoscopy; a specialist looks inside your colon to determine the cause of the blood. We have our own modern Colonoscopy Center located in the red wing adjacent to our main building at the Rialtostraat. .
More information about this surveillance examination can be found on our colonoscopy page.
5 out of 100 people have blood in their stool
What happens if the test shows blood in my poo? (The surveillance examination)
There can be several innocent and benign reasons for blood in the stool, like ruptured veins around the anus, polyps, etc. To further investigate what is causing blood in the stool we recommend doing a colonoscopy, which we offer in our Colonoscopy Center located in the red wing adjacent to our main building at the Rialtostraat.
During this procedure, the Colonoscopy Doctor will use a device to see inside your colon. This device allows enables the easy and quick removal of polyps that have the potential to grow into cancerous tumors. Colorn cancer (often) takes 15 years to grow in the colon, which makes screening at the right interval at the Caribbean Prevention Center an effective way to stay one step ahead of colon cancer. Removing the polyps diminishes the chances for developing cancer and saves lives.
Visit our colonoscopy page for more information on this procedure.
The FIT Test does not provide 100% certainty
No test is 100% accurate. There is always a small chance that the colon cancer will be missed. Please stay alert and look in your toilet and at your toilet paper after wiping to detect any blood in between your screenings with us. If there is blood, or you have other complaints, such as constipation or diarrhea for a long time without a clear cause, you should talk to your family doctor about it.
Do you have questions about your invitation, how the screening works, or other practical matters? Please contact our Caribbean Prevention Center