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Colorectal Cancer Awareness: All you need to know about this medical condition

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that affects the colon or rectum. The two cancers are often grouped together considering the common features that they share.

According to the reports by the practitioners at AMRI Hospital, India’s annual incidence rates for colorectal cancer in men are 4.4 and 4.1 per 1,00,000, respectively while AAR for colon cancer in women is 3.9 per 100000. Colon cancer ranks 8th and rectal cancer ranks 9th among men.

Types of cancer in the colon and rectum

  1. Carcinoid Tumors

Carcinoid tumor cells may develop in the lungs or gastrointestinal tract and sometimes in both simultaneously. This cancer develops in nerve cells called neuroendocrine cells which help regulate the hormone production.

  1. Gastrointestinal stromal Tumors

Gastrointestinal stromal cancer is formed in the cells present in the wall of colon call interstitial called Cajal. Some cancers are benign while others can be cancerous.

  1. Lymphomas

Lymphoma cancer affects the cell of immune system. Starting in the lymph node, they can affect other organs like rectum, colon, etc.

  1. Sarcomas
    Sarcoma cancer starts in blood vessels, muscle layers or other connective tissues in the wall of colon and rectum. This type of cancer is extremely rare.

Symptoms

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

  • Changes in bowel movement
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Blood in stool
  • Bright red bleeding from the rectum
  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained iron deficiency in men or in women after menopause
  • Lump in abdomen

These symptoms can also indicate other possible conditions. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor if the symptoms continue for 4 or more weeks.

Diagnosis

Identifying cancer takes a lot of patience and time as doctors use many tests to detect and locate the area affected by cancer.

The process of diagnosing colon cancer includes:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Colonoscopy to examine the rectum
  • Biopsy, where the doctor takes a tissue sample and it is analysed in laboratories
  • Molecular testing to identify characteristics of the tumor that may be important for treatment
  • Imaging tests, such as CT, PET, ultrasound, or MRI scans
  • A chest X-ray to check whether the cancer has spread to the lungs

With the growing technology advancements, the best oncology hospitals in Kolkata like AMRI Hospital focus on identifying the key lifestyle factors that may affect a person’s risk of colorectal cancer. Majority of their research is aimed at identifying factors like genes or proteins associated with higher risks. Individuals comprising of such biomarkers or a family history of colon cancer would require more intensive and frequent screening.