Navy Blue March: understand about colorectal cancer

Pink October , Blue November, Yellow September, all these campaigns you already know. But what about the Mar Azul Azul, have you heard of it?

This is the month for colorectal cancer awareness .

Understand more about the campaign and the disease in the following text!


What is Navy Blue March?

The Navy Blue March is a campaign that seeks to inform and educate the population about colorectal cancer through awareness.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund , there were 1.8 million new cases of colorectal cancer in 2018 alone, one of the most common types of cancer in the world.

The risk of developing the disease, according to the American Cancer Society, is approximately 1 in 22 (4.49%), in men, and 1 in 24 (4.15%), in women.

The same entity estimates that, in 2019, colorectal cancer is responsible for more than 51 thousand deaths in the United States.

Created in a partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Brazilian Society of Coloproctology (SBCP), Março Azul Marinho is an opportunity to educate yourself more about the disease and learn how to prevent it.

What are the goals of Mar Azul Azul Marinho?

In colorectal cancer, if diagnosed early, in the early stages, the survival rate is 5 years. That is, the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after diagnosis is 92%.

For this reason, informing the population about the disease, its symptoms and what to do in case of suspicion is one of the ways to make people discover the disease early, which, in turn, can decrease mortality rates.

Understand what colorectal cancer is

Colorectal cancer is a type of tumor that develops in the large intestine (colon) or in its final portion, the rectum. It is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women.

Symptoms usually appear in advanced stages of the disease, so early detection is not always possible.

Among its possible causes, it is speculated that diets rich in alcoholic beverages, red meat, sausages and processed meats increase the probability of developing colorectal cancer. This increased risk is also present in obese or overweight patients.

The origin of this type of tumor is due to intestinal polyps, which are wart- like lesions that appear in the large intestine.

That is why it is so important to be aware of intestinal changes. They can be an indication of the presence of a polyp in the intestine.

Signals and symptons

The most obvious symptoms of colorectal cancer usually appear in advanced stages.

So, be on the lookout for any of these symptoms and, if you have them, see a doctor:

  • Bleeding from the anus;
  • Unexplained constipation or diarrhea;
  • Presence of polyps in the intestine;
  • Anemia;
  • Weakness;
  • Abdominal colic;
  • Slimming;
  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation.

How is the diagnosis made?

There are several tests that can indicate the presence of polyps or even diagnose a tumor in the colon and / or rectum. Are they:

Digital rectal examination

The digital rectal exam is simple and painless, although still a taboo for many men patients.

Through it, it is possible to touch all the walls of the rectum looking for changes in the wall in the intestine, in addition to serving, in the case of men, to make an assessment of the health of the prostate.

Stool blood test

The search for occult blood in the stool seeks to find exactly what the name suggests: blood. The presence of blood in the fecal bolus may be indicative of wounds in the intestine.

To perform the exam, 3 consecutive stool samples are required.

Citrus fruits and red meats should not be consumed for at least 3 days before the exam and AAS medications (which have acetylsalicylic acid in the formula) and anti-inflammatory drugs should also not be taken for at least 7 days before the exam.

If the result is positive, that is, if there is blood in the stool , it is usually indicated that a colonoscopy is performed .

Double contrast opaque enema

Opaque enema is an exam that uses contrast and X-rays to generate images from inside the intestine, facilitating the visualization of lesions, polyps and tumors.

The contrast, usually made with barium sulfate, is introduced through the anus, so that the radiological examination allows to show abnormal areas.

This exam allows the visualization of the entire colon and rectum, but does not allow biopsies, making colonoscopy, in cases of suspicion, more appropriate.


This examination consists of the introduction of a tube through the anus that allows the visualization of the rectum and part of the colon.

Either a 25cm long rigid tube, in what is called a rigid rectosigmoidoscopy, or a 70cm flexible fiber optic device, a procedure called flexible rectosigmoidoscopy.

If the team finds any lesion, such as a polyp, it must be removed or the lesion must undergo a biopsy.

The problem with this test for the diagnosis of colorectal cancer is that it reaches only part of the colon and cannot analyze the entire organ.


Colonoscopy is performed by introducing a long fiber optic device (180 cm) with a camera at the tip through the anus, allowing visualization of the rectum and the entire colon.

The colonoscopy equipment, in addition to generating images from inside the intestine, also allows the insertion of special instruments to remove polyps or biopsies. To ensure the patient’s well-being, the examination is done with sedation and anesthesia.

Virtual colonoscopy

Virtual colonoscopy, unlike normal colonoscopy, in addition to producing sectional images of the intestine, also produces three-dimensional images, which allows the medical team to locate polyps or tumors more accurately.

Unlike colonoscopy, it is not an invasive exam, but requires preparation of the intestine with insertion of contrast through the rectal route.

Even so, if any suspicious part is found, it is necessary to use colonoscopy to better analyze the areas and remove the polyps.

How to prevent colorectal cancer?

There are some steps you can take to prevent colorectal cancer. Are they:

Practice physical exercises

Regular physical activity improves the body as a whole, providing a significant improvement in immunity. In addition, physical activity helps to regulate bowel movements, which prevents cancer.

Do not smoke

Cigarettes have more than 400 carcinogenic substances and their use is associated with several types of cancer, including colorectal cancer.

Avoid drinking

Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Avoid processed meats

Processed meats, especially those that have gone through the smoking process, such as ham and bologna, have been listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as carcinogenic.

Among the types of cancer that can cause is colorectal cancer.

Have a healthy diet

Healthy eating includes eating fresh and minimally processed foods , such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, grains and seeds.

This ensures a dietary pattern rich in fiber, which, in addition to promoting the proper functioning of the intestine, also helps in controlling body weight.

Thanks to Mar Azul Azul Marinho, today you learned a little more about colorectal cancer and how to prevent it. Share this text with those who need it!