Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is also known as colon cancer. Sometimes it is termed as large bowel cancer. The rectum, appendix and colon are affected by this ailment.   Colon cancer is caused by initially benign growth of abnormal cells, originating in the lining of the colon or maybe the rectum.  

These growths are called adenomatous polyps and resemble mushrooms.  As long as the lining of the colon consists of abnormal but benign growths of polyps, the condition is termed as adenomatous polyposis syndrome (APS). These cells can also invade into the region of the intestine where the alimentary canal from the stomach reaches the anus.   When the benign growths become cancerous they are known as adenocarcinomas.


Prevalence Of Colorectal Cancer


It is the fourth most common cancer in the US and the third most common cause for cancerous deaths. Colon cancer alone is responsible for more than 600,000 deaths every year, all over the world. The cancer appears in a person, usually before he/she reaches 40 years of age. A person whose immediate family circle includes a member with colon cancer is three m times more likely to fall prey to the disease than others.


Who is at risk? (Causes) For Colorectal Cancer

  1. A person whose family includes members with colon cancer

  2. People who are genetically inclined to fall prey to APS belong to the highest risk group for colon cancer

  3. A hereditary abnormality in the colon, found in some families, that causes abnormal growth of cells in the absence of polyps, may also lead to colon cancer

  4. A person who has Crohn disease

  5. A person who has or had breast cancer, ovarian cancer or uterine cancer

  6. People who are obese

  7. People who smoke

The risk group should always undergo periodic screening tests to identify malignancy of the growths.


Symptoms Of Colorectal Cancer

  1. Pale and dull complexion

  2. Pain in the abdomen due to perforation of the colon (This is a rare occurrence)

  3. Nausea and vomiting for no discernible reason

  4. Rectal bleeding and pain

  5. Unexplained exhaustion

  6. Difficulty in passing stools when the cancerous growth obstructs bowel movement

  7. Ribbon like stools

  8. A sensation of not having passed stools completely

  9. The belly appears big, without apparent weight gain

Treatment Of Colorectal Cancer

  1. Radiation: This treatment is preferable before the surgery as it is likely to reduce the size of the tumor and makes surgery easier. Pre-surgery radiation also reduces risk of recurrence of the ailment

  2. Surgery: The whole colon or a part of it is removed surgically to remove the cancer from the patient’s system

  3. Chemotherapy: Post surgery chemotherapy can contain cancerous growth of cells that have invaded the lymph nodes

Intake of foods rich in fiber and eating a lot of fruits helps prevent growth of cancer, according to some experts. A regular exercise regimen can also successfully keep the problem at bay.

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