Biotechnology

More than 60 percent of Saudi Arabian respondents have never had colorectal cancer

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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and third among women in Saudi Arabia, with up to two-thirds diagnosed at an advanced stage, according to King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center. This report shows Saudi Arabia has a high percentage of respondents (62.7%) who have never taken a CRC test, much higher than the global average of 54.1%. This shows that the Kingdom’s Cancer Early Detection Program still needs to build greater awareness among the public.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and third among women in Saudi Arabia, with up to two-thirds diagnosed at an advanced stage, according to King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center. This report shows Saudi Arabia has a high percentage of respondents (62.7%) who have never taken a CRC test, much higher than the global average of 54.1%. This shows that the Kingdom’s Cancer Early Detection Program still needs to build greater awareness among the public.

To unravel attitudes and the biggest challenges facing CRC awareness and screening, BGI Genomics released the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Report, marking the first global survey report on the world’s third most common cancer. This report aligns with the achievement of Health for All, and seeks to motivate action to address key health challenges.

This inaugural report seeks to better understand the global state of CRC awareness, as well as attitudes and actions towards CRC screening for average risk groups and CRC screening for hereditary genetic risk groups. 1,817 respondents from six countries and territories were surveyed: United Kingdom (Western Europe), Hungary (Eastern Europe), Saudi Arabia (Middle East and Africa), Thailand (South East Asia), mainland China and Hong Kong (North Asia).

Although 51.5% reported that there was not enough information on CRC and 34.5% cited costs of keeping them from having CRC screening, the report revealed some optimistic findings. For example, 88.8% were more willing to screen after learning about the 90% 5-year survival rate for early detection of CRC.

“Early detection of CRC offers the best outcomes for individuals and health care policies. The cost of treating late-stage CRC is sometimes more than ten times that of early-stage CRC but with much lower survival rates,” said Yantao Li, PhD, Director of BGI Genomics of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, Southeast Asia. “That is why more and more countries or regions are promoting early screening programs. For example, the European Commission is stepping up its CRC inspection program.”

Other key takeaways from this report include:

Colonoscopy is the most well-known screening test, but there is scope for raising awareness over other tests such as the stool test. Although colonoscopy (68.2%) is the most well-known screening test, it is more expensive and complicated compared to the lesser-known stool test at 49.5%. To promote this more affordable and flexible option, awareness of stool testing needs to increase.

Doctors are the biggest factor for respondents to screen in the absence of symptoms. 62.5% would follow their doctor’s advice to undergo a CRC screening. Therefore, it is very important for doctors to be more aware of the symptoms of CRC, ask the right questions to identify potential hereditary genetic risks and offer patients a variety of screening options, to suit different lifestyles and budgets. In our opinion, the best colorectal cancer screening test is the one patients will take.

Respondents were divided when asked about bringing their family members for checkups. 55.7% realized that a family history of CRC increased their risk. According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines, these family members should start screening at age 40 or 10 years before an early diagnosis of CRC runs in the family. The good news is that 67.2% who have CRC or a family history of CRC have brought a family member for examination. In contrast, only 31.2% of all respondents brought their family members for the TRC examination.

To read and view country or region-level comparisons, please see the link to access the full BGI Genomics Colorectal Cancer Awareness Report 2023.

About BGI Genomics and COLOTECT

BGI Genomics, headquartered in Shenzhen China, is the world’s leading provider of integrated precision medicine solutions. In July 2017, as a subsidiary of BGI Group, BGI Genomics (300676.SZ) was officially listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

COLOTECT is a non-invasive stool DNA test developed by BGI Genomics to detect CRC and precancerous lesions. It uses multiplex methylation-specific PCR (MSP) technology to track abnormal DNA methylation biomarkers in CRC from stool samples. It has a CRC sensitivity of 88%, and for early detection, its sensitivity for advanced adenomas is 46%, both of which are superior to conventional stool tests.


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