Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Overview

A growth of cancerous cells in the large intestine or the lower part of the rectum is called colorectal cancer. Colon cancer and rectal cancer both cause similar symptoms due to which they are grouped as Colorectal Cancer. The non-cancerous tissues that grow in these regions over time turns into cancerous polyps due to genetical modifications.

Signs and symptoms

Colorectal cancer often goes without symptoms in the initial days. But the observed symptoms are a change in bowel habits, blood in the stools, anaemia, sudden weight loss, vomiting.

Causes and risk factors

Genetic mutation plays a major role in the growth of Colorectal cancer but the exact reasons for its cause are unknown. The risk factors of developing Colorectal cancer are obesity, regular intake of alcohol, excessive consumption of deep-fried foods and red meat, smoking and an inactive lifestyle.

Complications

As Colorectal cancer is asymptomatic in the initial stages complications like colon blockage and spread of cancerous cells to other organs are some complications that can emerge due to delayed diagnosis.

Diagnosis

If symptoms are displayed, colonoscopy is performed in which a long tube is used to examine the rectum and colon, and also extract polyps, if any ,for further diagnosis. Barium Enema, X-ray, Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in which an “S” shaped tube is inserted into the anus for examining the colon, complete blood count tests, imaging tests like X-rays, MRI, and CT scans are some other tests used to diagnose Colorectal Cancer.

Surgery

Surgery is the best treatment for Colorectal cancer. For the initial stages of cancer, using Colonoscopic Polypectomy the cancerous tissues are removed through a local incision; for advanced stages of cancer, the removal of affected portions of the colon is done through an open surgery called Laparoscopic Colectomy. The other surgical option is Colostomy when an opening(stoma) is created in the abdominal wall to connect one end of the large intestine, creating a new passage for waste materials. Colostomy is a temporary or a permanent process. Proctectomy is the surgical option advised when a part of the rectum or the entire rectum has to be removed.

Prevention

In the case of a family history of polyps, getting regularly screened for colorectal cancer is recommended. The other effective ways to lower the risk of Colorectal cancer is to maintain a healthy diet rich in whole wheat and grains, fruits and vegetable, reduced meat and alcohol, exercising regularly and maintaining a balanced vitamin and mineral intake.

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