Colorectal Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment
Colorectal cancer or colon cancer is a type of cancer where there is a malignant tumour manifesting in the inner walls of the large intestine (colon). The tumour is formed from a clump of small and benign cells known as the polyps formed inside the walls of the colon. In the early stage, if the polyps are not treated, they go on to develop into colon cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in twenty-two men and one in twenty-four women develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime.
People of any age can be diagnosed with colon cancer. However, it’s most prevalent in adults above the age of 50.
Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
The symptoms of colorectal cancer are based on the current stage it occurs. During the early stages, the symptoms include:
- Blood in the stool (bright or very dark red)
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Haemorrhage in the rectum
- Change in bowel movement shape
- Excessive gas
During the late stages, the following symptoms may be noticed:
- Nauseous feeling
- Weight loss
- Changes in your stool that lasts for a long time (a month)
- Having the feeling that your bowel is not empty
- Chronic headaches
- Swelling in hands and feet
- Breathing difficulties
Causes of Colorectal Cancer
Certain factors lead to the development or increase in the risk of colon cancer. They are:
Inflammatory Diseases: Chronic inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Age: Colon cancer can be diagnosed at any age. It is mostly diagnosed in people above the age of 50. Of recent the increase of colorectal cancer in people younger than 50 has been increasing. The reason is yet to be ascertained.
Family History: You are at risk of colon cancer if there is a manifestation of this medical condition in your family genealogy. Your risk is greater if more than one family member has colon cancer.
Sedentary Lifestyle: People who get less physical activity are at a huge risk of colon cancer. Getting involved in physical activities reduces your chances of being diagnosed with colon cancer.
Smoking: Smokers run the risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Obesity: Obesity is one of the contributing factors of colon cancer. Obese people have an increased risk of dying of colon cancer than non-obese people.
Alcohol: Heavy drinking puts you at a high risk of colorectal cancer.
Low-Fiber Diet: Research has found that diets low in fibre are associated with colon cancer. Eating diets with high fibre content is a good way to reduce the chances of having coming cancer.
Diabetes: People with diabetes are at high risk of colon cancer.
Treatment of Colon Cancer
Treatment of colorectal cancer is dependent on a variety of causative factors. To be able to get the right treatment, you should visit your doctor to help you with a treatment plan.
There are drugs designed to treat colorectal cancer. The drugs are made to block the enzymes and other agents that lead to the growth of colorectal cancer. An example of a colorectal cancer drug is regorafenib (Stivarga), which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2012.
2. Colorectal Surgery
Colorectal cancer can be treated by surgery in its early stages. During this period, a colorectal surgeon removes the benign polyps through surgery. If the polyps are attached to the walls of the bowels, a portion of the colon or rectum may be removed.
Chemotherapy entails the use of drugs to control the growth of cancerous cells in the colon usually after surgery. In the treatment of late-stage colorectal cancer using chemotherapy, it comes with side effects, which can be controlled using additional medication.
Radiation involves the use of a powerful beam of energy to target and destroy cancerous cells in the colon. This treatment is usually used together with chemotherapy.
Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis
Colorectal cancer diagnosis gives you the chance to get treatment. Treatment is best obtained when a diagnosis is done early. X-ray, CT scan, colonoscopy, or blood testing could be carried out to determine the presence of polyps. Visit a professional and certified colorectal cancer specialist for proper examination of colorectal cancer.
Understanding the symptoms of colorectal cancer is important so that it can be detected earlier. For those who live locally, a visit to a colorectal cancer specialist or a colorectal surgeon in Singapore is all you need to determine if you have colon cancer. For more details, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our helpful and professional personnel.