What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal Cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the cells of the large intestine and the rectum. Typically, the cancer begins as benign tumors, also known as adenomatous polyps, and over a period of time some of the polyps tend to become cancerous. The rectal cancer also develops in the large intestine, in the extreme lower part of the colon. Together these cancers are also termed as colorectal cancers.
Regular check-up to identify the presence of polyps and their removal is suggested to ensure that the risk of colon cancer is lowered.
What are the causes & risk factors of colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is caused by the genetic mutation of cells turning them from normal to abnormal cells in the colon. The exact cause of the mutation is yet unascertained. Some of the factors that increase the risk of colon cancer are enumerated below:
- History of colon cancer in the family
- Presence of polyps or rectal cancer
- Genetic factors inherited from family
- Low-fibre and high-fat diet
- Sedentary lifestyle with no physical activity
- Type-2 diabetes
- Obesity and excessive weight gain
- Excessive smoking & alcohol abuse
- Undergoing radiation therapy for other cancers
What are the signs & symptoms of colorectal cancer?
The common symptoms of colorectal cancer can be enumerated as the following
- Rectal bleeding or blood in stools
- Frequent diarrhoea or constipation
- Abdominal discomfort – gas, cramps etc.,
- Unexplained weight loss
- Excessive & frequent fatigue
What are the treatment options for colorectal cancer?
The treatment options of colorectal cancers depend on the location and the stage of the cancer, with various surgical options available for each of the stages.
For early stage cancers, the surgical treatment options include:
- Removal of polyps via colonoscopy
- Endoscopic mucosal resection
- Minimally invasive surgical options
For later stage cancers, surgical treatment involves the removal of that part of the colon that is affected by cancer. In other cases, it may be required to create an alternative waste disposal mechanism from the body.