Colorectal Cancer

What is Colorectal Cancer (colon rectal cancer)

Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as bowel cancer and colon cancer, is the development of cancer from the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine) Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in men and the second most common cancer in women worldwide. Almost 55% of the cases occur in developed countries. There is wide geographical variation in incidence across the world but the geographical pattern is similar in men and women. Mortality due to colon cancer is higher in the underdeveloped than in the developed countries, because of poor health care system and lack of awareness of the disease. The incidence of colorectal cancer is relatively low in India because of significantly high fibre intake and healthier lifestyle.

Colon and rectal cancer is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65-74 (median age 68), though of late a trend towards lower age group is being noted In western world colon cancer is slightly more common than rectal cancer , but in India rectal cancer is more common . Men are more commonly affected than women colorectal cancer usually stars in the innermost layer (mucosa) and can grow through some or all of the tissue layers that make up the colon and rectum (submucosa , muscular and serosa ) The extent to which a cancer penetrates the various tissues layers determines the stage of the disease

Causes & Symptoms of colorectal cancer

Symptoms: The common symptoms associated with colon rectal cancer are
  • Blood in stools.
  • Change in bowel habits e.g.- diarrhea, increasing constipation or increasing requirement of laxatives and narrow caliber of stool that lasts for few days/weeks/ months.
  • Abdominal or rectal pain
  • Constant feeling that you need to have bowel movements, which still persist after passing stool.
  • Weakness in decrease in appetite and significant amount of weight loss in few months.
Few of these symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions, but awareness of the disease can help in early diagnosis. Any rectal bleeding is commonly associated with benign anorectal disease like haemorrhoids or fissure , but colon cancer can some time coexist with haemorrhoids specially if age is more than 50 years.
So new onset bleeding per rectum in this age groups should not be neglected as merely benign.

Treatments for Colon Cancer

The choice of treatment for colorectal cancer depends on the stage of the disease i.e, how large the tumor has grown, how deeply it has invaded the layers of the colon or rectum, and whether it has spread to other organs like liver, lungs or some other part of the body.

Treatment options include:
Radiation therapy,
Chemotherapy,
Hormonal and biological therapy,
Local ablative therapy,
Combinations of these approaches,