Cancer of the Colon and the Rectum

Colon cancer is seen mostly in developed countries. However, in the recent post, incidences have increased in India. Doctors have concluded that the increasing consumption of western style food with less fiber may be a key contributing factor. Compared to the western population, in India colon and rectal cancers are seen in relatively young patients.

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CHARACTERISTICS

  • The cancer of large intestine (colon), the lower part of our digestive system is called Colon Cancer
  • Rectal cancer is cancer occurring in the last 6 inches of the colon.
  • Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, non cancerous (benign) clumps of cells called ‘adenomotous polyps.’ Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers.

CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS

  • Presence of polyps as small, non-cancerous (benign) dumps of cells) in the colon.
  • A diet rich in fat and starch without fiber.
  • Sedentary life style
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption
  • A family history of colon polyps
  • A history of inflammatory bowel disease (two diseases- Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease)

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SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

As with other cancers, the early symptoms are quite vague.

These are the common signs and symptoms.

  • Changes in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or a change in the consistency of stool for more than a couple of weeks
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in stool
  • Continuos abdominal discomfort, such as cramps gas or pain
  • Abdominal pain with bowel movement
  • A feeling that the bowel doesnt’t empty completey
  • Unexplained weight loss and fatigue

DIAGNOIS

  • A blood test called ‘faecal occult’, which indentifies hidden blood in the stool.
  • Followed by visualization of colon through a procedure knows as colonoscopy test.
  • Another test called biopsy is also included, a piece of suspected tissue is taken for examination.

MANAGEMENT

The management plan is carried out once the disease is identified and staged. Treatments included are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation by considering the stage of disease.

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