Also known as colon cancer, colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that starts in a person’s colon (large intestine) or rectum. The condition occurs when the cells that line the colon or the rectum become abnormal and grow out of control. Regular colorectal cancer screenings are crucial since symptoms frequently do not manifest until the cancer has spread.
There is no exact known cause for colon cancer. Genetic changes that can either be inherited or acquired may lead to cancer. Although these mutations increase the risk, it’s not a guarantee that one will develop colon cancer.
The lining of the colon may develop polyps because of accumulation of abnormal cells. These are tiny, harmless growths. But if left untreated polyps can develop into cancer. Surgery to remove these growths may be an effective preventive approach.
There is a chance that an individual may not present any symptoms at all of the colon cancer, particularly at the beginning. If one experiences symptoms, they will frequently be found in phases 0 through 2 and they may include:
To make a definitive diagnosis of colorectal cancer, the doctor may order the following tests as part of the diagnosis process.
Cancer severity is determined by staging. Colorectal cancer is treated based on the stage of the cancer. The treatment options include:
Surgery: This is done to remove the abnormal cells as well as a small section of the surrounding healthy tissues.
Chemotherapy: These are a combination of drugs that kill cancer cells and are usually administered through intravenous IV or orally as a pill. Each of these drugs targets a particular type of cancer and is administered in accordance with set dosages and timings. This therapy may be recommended for advanced colorectal cancers, where cancer cells have spread to other organs or lymph nodes.
Radiation: Radiation therapy is a procedure that involves the use of high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. It is normally performed by a radiation oncologist, a doctor specially trained in giving radiation therapy to treat cancer.
Immunotherapy: This is a more recent type of treatment for colorectal cancer. The primary objective of this treatment is to boost the patient’s immune reaction to cancer cells to aid in fighting the disease more effectively. There are two types of immunotherapies:
The symptoms of colorectal cancer can include changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.
Treatment for colorectal cancer typically involves surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
colostomy is a surgical procedure in which a portion of the colon is brought to the surface of the skin to create a stoma, or opening, through which stool can exit the body. This may be necessary in cases where a large portion of the colon has been removed or damaged.
You should see a doctor if you experience symptoms of colorectal cancer, particularly if the symptoms persist or worsen over time. Additionally, if you have a family history of colon cancer, you may need to be screened earlier and more frequently than the general population.