Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as bowel cancer, is the development of cancer from the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine). It typically starts as a benign tumour, often in the form of a polyp, which over time becomes cancerous. Cause of colorectal cancer It is due to the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body.

 

Signs and symptoms of colon cancer may include blood in the stool, a change in bowel movements, weight loss, and feeling tired all the time.

  • Colon cancer symptoms and signs also depend on the location of the tumor in the bowel, and whether it has spread elsewhere in the body (metastasis).
  • The classic bowel cancer symptoms include: worsening constipation, blood in the stool, decrease in stool calibre (thickness), loss of appetite, loss of weight, and nausea or vomiting in someone over 50 years
  • Other colorectal cancer symptoms including weight loss and change in bowel habit are typically only concerning if associated with bleeding.

 

Causes of colorectal cancers are due to:

  • Old age and lifestyle factors with only a small number of cases due to underlying genetic disorders.
  • Some risk factors include diet, obesity, smoking, and lack of physical activity.
  • Dietary factors that increase the risk include red and processed meat as well as alcohol.
  • Another risk factor is inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Some other colorectal causes are due to inherited genetic disorders that can cause colorectal cancer include familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer.

 

Treatment of Colonic Cancer

Surgery in Colorectal Cancer

If the cancer is found at a very early stage, it may be removed during a colonoscopy. For people with localized cancer, the preferred treatment is complete surgical removal with adequate margins, with the attempt of achieving a cure. This can either be done by an open laparotomy or sometimes laparoscopically. The colon may then be reconnected or a person may have a colostomy.

 

Chemotherapy in Colorectal Cancer

In both cancer of the colon and rectum, chemotherapy may be used in addition to surgery in certain cases. The decision to add chemotherapy in management of colon and rectal cancer depends on the stage of the disease.

 

Radiation therapy

While a combination of radiation and chemotherapy may be useful for rectal cancer, its use in colon cancer is not routine due to the sensitivity of the bowels to radiation. Just as for chemotherapy, radiotherapy can be used in the neoadjuvant and adjuvant setting for some stages of rectal cancer.

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