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Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer begins in the colon or rectum and often starts as benign polyps that can become cancerous. With 15 lakh new cases annually in India, early detection through screening is crucial for effective treatment. Felix Hospital offers comprehensive care and advanced treatments for colorectal cancer. Understanding Colorectal Cancer symptoms, causes, and prevention can help save lives and improve outcomes.

Schedule a consultation regarding Colorectal cancer treatment with the best oncologist in Noida, please contact Felix Hospital: +91 9667064100.

 

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or rectum, parts of the large intestine. This cancer typically starts as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon or rectum. Over time, some of these polyps can become cancerous. Colorectal cancer is often referred to as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where it starts.

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

The Colorectal Cancer symptoms in females are similar to those in men and can vary based on the size and location of the cancer within the intestine. Common symptoms include:

  • Changes in Bowel Habits: Persistent diarrhea, constipation, or a change in the consistency of your stool.
  • Rectal Bleeding or Blood in Stool: Bright red or very dark blood in your stool.
  • Persistent Abdominal Discomfort: Cramping, gas, or pain.
  • A Feeling That the Bowel Doesn’t Empty Completely: This can cause discomfort and frequent trips to the bathroom.
  • Weakness or Fatigue : Feeling tired all the time without a clear reason.
  • Unexplained Weight Loss : Losing weight without trying can be a sign of colorectal cancer.

Causes and Risk Factors of Colorectal Cancer

The exact cause of colorectal cancer isn't always clear. However, several factors may increase your risk of developing the disease:

  • Age : Most people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over 50.
  • Personal History of Polyps or Cancer : Previous polyps or colorectal cancer increase your risk.
  • Family History : A family history of colorectal cancer or polyps increases your risk.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease : Conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease increase risk.
  • Inherited Syndromes : Genetic syndromes like Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)increase risk.
  • Diet : High-fat, low-fiber diets and diets high in red or processed meats are linked to colorectal cancer.
  • Lifestyle Factors : Lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, and heavy alcohol use can increase risk.

Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer

Early detection of colorectal cancer is crucial for successful treatment. Several screening tests are available:

  • Colonoscopy : A flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the rectum to view the entire colon. Polyps can be removed during this procedure.
  • Stool Tests : Tests like the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) check for blood in the stool.
  • Sigmoidoscopy : Similar to a colonoscopy, but only examines the rectum and lower colon.
  • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy) : A CT scan creates detailed images of the colon and rectum.
  • DNA Stool Test : Checks for genetic mutations associated with colorectal cancer.

Staging of Colorectal Cancer

If colorectal cancer is diagnosed, staging determines the extent of the cancer:

  • Stage 0 : Cancer is in the innermost lining of the colon or rectum.
  • Stage I : Cancer has grown into the muscle layer of the colon or rectum.
  • Stage II : Cancer has grown into or through the outermost layer of the colon or rectum but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage III : Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes but not to other parts of the body.
  • Stage IV : Cancer has spread to other distant organs, such as the liver or lungs.

Treatment Options for Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer Treatment depends on the stage and may include one or more of the following:

  • Surgery :

-Polypectomy : Removing polyps during a colonoscopy.
-Colectomy : Removing part or all of the colon that contains cancer.
-Laparoscopic Surgery : Minimally invasive surgery to remove cancer.
-Colostomy : Creating an opening (stoma) for waste to leave the body if the rectum is removed.

  • Radiation Therapy : Using high-energy rays to kill cancer cells, often used before or after surgery.
  • Chemotherapy : Using drugs to kill cancer cells, usually given after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells or to shrink tumors before surgery.
  • Targeted Therapy : Using drugs that specifically target cancer cells without harming normal cells. Examples include bevacizumab (Avastin) and cetuximab (Erbitux).
  • Immunotherapy : Boosting the body’s immune system to fight cancer. This is used mainly for advanced colorectal cancer.

Prevention of Colorectal Cancer

Several lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer:

  • Screening : Regular screening is the most effective way to prevent colorectal cancer by detecting and removing polyps before they become cancerous.
  • Diet : Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce risk. Limiting red and processed meats is also beneficial.
  • Exercise : Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces risk.
  • Weight Management : Maintaining a healthy weight lowers the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Avoiding Tobacco and Excessive Alcohol : Smoking and heavy drinking increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Aspirin : Some studies suggest that taking low-dose aspirin might reduce the risk, but it should be done under a doctor's guidance due to potential side effects.

 

Living with Colorectal Cancer

A diagnosis of colorectal cancer can be life-changing. Support from family, friends, and healthcare providers is crucial. Here are some tips for managing life with colorectal cancer:

  • Stay Informed : Learn about your condition and treatment options.
  • Follow Up : Regular follow-up appointments are crucial to monitor your health.
  • Healthy Lifestyle : Eating well and staying active can improve your overall well-being.
  • Support Groups : Joining a support group can provide emotional support and practical advice from others who understand your experience.
  • Mental Health : Don’t hesitate to seek help from mental health professionals to cope with the emotional aspects of cancer.

For more detailed information, contact Felix Hospital, the best cancer hospital in Noida at +91 9667064100.

Conclusion

Colorectal cancer is a serious but often preventable and treatable disease. Regular screening, a healthy lifestyle, and staying informed about risk factors and symptoms are key to early detection and successful treatment. If you experience any symptoms or have a higher risk due to family history or other factors, consult with your healthcare provider for appropriate screening and prevention strategies.

FAQs about Colorectal Cancer

 

  • Is colorectal cancer curable?   

Ans. Yes, colorectal cancer is often curable, especially if detected early. Treatment success rates are higher when the cancer is found at an early stage.

 

  • What are the first signs of having colon cancer?    

Ans. The first signs of colon cancer can include changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, persistent abdominal discomfort, a feeling that the bowel doesn’t empty completely, weakness or fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

 

  • How long can a person live with colon cancer?    

Ans. The life expectancy of a person with colon cancer depends on the stage at diagnosis, overall health, and how well the cancer responds to treatment. Early-stage colon cancer has a higher survival rate compared to advanced stages.

 

  • How to avoid colorectal cancer?    

Ans. To avoid colorectal cancer, one should get regular screenings, maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, avoid tobacco and limit alcohol consumption.

 

  • What is colorectal cancer caused by?    

Ans. Colorectal cancer can be caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors, including age, personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, certain inherited syndromes, diet high in fat and low in fiber, lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, and heavy alcohol use.