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Free colon cancer test for over-50s in Brussels

09:48 15/09/2023

Between 12 and 30 September, all Brussels residents between the ages of 50 and 74 will be invited for a free colon cancer test.

Residents must not have had a test in the last two years or a colonoscopy in the last five years. Those eligible can pick up test kits from a pharmacy.

Belgium had 7,300 cases of colon cancer last year, with more than 500 cases diagnosed in Brussels. In 2019, 229 people died from the disease, making it the second most deadly cancer in Belgium.

Colon cancer mainly affects people over 50 years old, who make up 90% of patients.

If detected early, colon cancer is curable in nine out of 10 cases. But the cancer’s development is stealthy and the first symptoms generally don’t appear for years.

Prevention and testing are therefore necessary, according to the Common Community Commission of the Brussels region.

In 2019 and 2020, 26,000 tests were carried out in Brussels, which covered just 12% of eligible people.

This year’s awareness raising initiative involves doctors, pharmacists and health promoters, along with comedians Richard Ruben and Zidani.

Population screening for colon cancer also exists in Flanders and Wallonia.

Written by Helen Lyons