Any malignant or abnormal growth or mass in the colon or rectum leads to the development of colorectal cancer, also known as bowel, colon or rectal cancer. Nearly 2% of people over the age of 50 years are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Europe, 40% of which are in the advanced stage. One of the most invasive and common types of cancers, colorectal cancer is common among both men and women, often occuring at an early age in the former. However, growing awareness, advanced medical technologies, and early detection of the disease have improved survival rates in patients since the past two decades. The colon and rectum are parts of the large intestine; the colon participates in re-absorption of water and nutrients from digested food that passes through while the rectum helps in the expulsion of faecal matter from the body. Colorectal cancer can be benign if the mass or abnormal growth is restricted to the inner lining of the colon wall, and might become malignant if the abnormal tissues grow in density and start invading into other organs and tissues.
Stages of Colo-rectal cancer: WebMD
Most common cause of colorectal cancer is the presence of pre-existing polyps which have the potential to become malignant. Moreover, people suffering from the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBDs) Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. Other causative factors could be the following:
- Increasing age
- Diets high in animal and saturated fats and low on fibre
- Excessive smoking and alcohol consumption
- Family history
- Previous history of cancer of breast, uterus or ovary mainly among women
- Being overweight or obese and leading an inactive lifestyle
Colorectal cancer which develops from polyps found inside the large intestinal lining are termed as adenoma.
The main signs of colorectal cancer can be commonly confused with other colon related diseases because of which a person might get mixed-up. The symptoms are mostly:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Constipation, vomiting or diarrhoea
- Bloating and pain in the abdomen
- Urge to empty the bowels despite having done it earlier
- Weight loss and fatigue
- Lump in the stomach or back passage
- Extreme iron deficiency
Most of the above mentioned symptoms are common among patients with IBDs or other colon disorders. But if someone continuously suffers from a majority of these symptoms and fails to recover after treatment, an immediate diagnosis is recommended for early detection and better prognosis of colorectal cancer.
Current Treatment :
An early screening process can pick any abnormalities found in the colon or rectum and help in detecting any malignant cells. MRI, colonoscopy, stool DNA tests, blood test of stools and sigmoidoscopy are common diagnostic tools used for detecting colorectal cancer. Surgery is often used for removing the malignant tumour mass. The abnormal polyps and adjoining lymph nodes are removed to prevent further spread of the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are given in several cases to shrink the size of the tumour before surgery, the former in case of colon cancer and the latter for rectal cancer.
As colorectal cancer symptoms are not clear at the beginning, it becomes important for people above 50 years of age who are on a high fat diet or who have IBD to undergo regular screening for early detection and effective treatment. Processed meat and obesity elevate the risks further in which case it is imperative for more susceptible population to cut their red meat intake and lead a healthy lifestyle. Koya Stopiles™ in Hyderabad, and now in Bangalore too, is a clinic specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of various anal and rectal problems. The team of doctors and surgeons at the facility have extensive experience in treating various conditions, aided also by experts who monitor the cases from other countries. The techniques used for the treatment are latest, US-FDA approved, minimally invasive and designed specifically to suit a patient’s need.