Finding blood in stool? Are you experiencing abdominal cramps? These are some signs of colorectal cancer. If you show these signs, rush to a doctor now! Left untreated, cancer from colon can spread to the other parts of the body. Keep reading to find more symptoms…
Colorectal cancer is a cancer that occurs in the inner wall of large intestine. It affects colon and rectum and has lead to 6,94,000 deaths in 2012.
What are its symptoms?
The symptoms are as follows:
- Changes in bowel movements which include diarrhea, constipation, a feeling that you have not passed bowel completely, urge to move bowels
- Discomfort or gas
- Excessive weakness
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pelvic pain
What causes it?
Generally old cells are replaced by new cells. Sometimes the new cells grow and the old cells don’t die. This abnormal behaviour of cells leads to tumor.
In colon, initially this tumor is formed which is called as polyps. They can either be in flat or mushroom-shape; they can also dissolve in the wall of the colon. Left untreated, polyps can form into cancerous cells.
Are you at risk?
The following factors increase the risk of this disease:
- Age above 50
- History of ovarian, breast or uterine cancer
- Chronic inflammatory conditions of colon like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Family history
- Diet rich in fat and cholesterol, which has less fiber content
- Lack of exercise
- Alcohol consumption
- African-American descent
A person who had been diagnosed with this disease before the age of 60 is more likely to develop it again.
Diagnosis of the disease
The diagnostic procedures are as follows:
- Colonoscopy: In this, the doctor will use a long and flexible tube to examine the colon and rectum. The tube will have a video camera attached to it; if the doctor finds anything suspicious he/she will insert surgical instruments in the tube to take samples of the tissue.
- CT colonoscopy: In this, numerous CT scan images are combined to get a detailed picture of the colon. This is recommended for the people who cannot undergo colonoscopy.
How is it treated?
There are three ways to treat colon cancer.
Surgery: It is the best option to treat colorectal cancers. Very small tumors are removed by colonoscopy whereas small tumors will be removed by either traditional open surgery or laparoscopic surgery.
In rare cases, the doctor can perform a colostomy in which he/she will create an opening in the abdomen to bring out an end of the large intestine. This opening is called stoma. Then a bag is attached to the stoma which will collect the waste. This procedure can be carried out on a temporary or permanent basis.
Radiation therapy: In this therapy, high-energy rays are used to kill the cancer cells. This therapy can be given to a patient before carrying out a surgery in order to reduce the size of the tumor, this makes the surgery easy. It can also be given after performing surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left behind.
Chemotherapy drugs: There are certain drugs that treat colorectal cancer. A doctor can carry out chemotherapy straight away in the liver if the colon cancer has spread to that organ. Some drugs can be used to block the blood supply to the cancer cells and to cut off the supply of proteins that support cancer growth.
If you show any symptoms of colorectal cancer, take action now! Consult a gastroenterologist online at eVaidya!
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