Colorectal Cancer – Types, Symptoms and Treatments

Colorectal cancer and rectal cancer are two different types of cancer that start in the colon and rectus, respectively. Colorectal cancer is another name for cancers that affect one of these organs. It is a condition where the colon’s tissue is where malignant (cancer) cells first develop. The colon or rectum can develop colorectal cancer. The inner walls of the colon and rectum might develop this kind of cancer when abnormal tissue starts to form there. These aberrant tissues typically appear as polyps. Polyps are tissue protrusions that stick out from the intestinal wall and have a thin stem that keeps them there. Polyps resemble fungus in form and are relatively frequent, particularly in the elderly. While most polyps are not malignant, occasionally polyps do develop into cancer. A malignant polyp grows uncontrollably into a tumor, which grows bigger and bigger until it pierces the intestinal wall and affects nearby organs and lymph nodes via metastasis.

Types :

The majority of colorectal malignancies grow slowly, eventually expanding and piercing the intestinal wall. They typically spread through the invasion of neighboring lymph nodes when they occur. Cancers typically expand into the colon’s interior on the right side, close to the cecum. They are prone to cause bleeding and can grow to be uncomfortable. The initial sign in these circumstances is frequently anemia brought on by continuous blood loss, so a stool test for occult or concealed blood is essential.

On the left side of the colon, polyps and malignancies are most common. The cancer frequently spreads around the colon wall and encircles it in the left or descending colon because of the narrowness of the channel. Cancer on the left side frequently restricts and partially blocks the digestive canal.

Symptoms :

Symptoms may include:

• Diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue.
• Going to the toilet more often.
• A feeling that the bowel does not empty properly after a bowel movement.
• Pain and bloating in the abdomen.
• Blood in stools.
• Inexplicable weight loss.
• A lump in the tummy.
• Unexplained iron deficiency in men, or in women after the menopause

Causes :

Symptoms may include:

• Diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue.
• Going to the toilet more often.
• A feeling that the bowel does not empty properly after a bowel movement.
• Pain and bloating in the abdomen.
• Blood in stools.
• Inexplicable weight loss.
• A lump in the tummy.
• Unexplained iron deficiency in men, or in women after the menopause.

Diagnosis :

The following methods will be used to diagnose a person with colorectal cancer:

• It is found on a routine screening test.
• Symptoms lead a person to the doctor, and tests to find the cause of the symptoms reveal colorectal cancer.

Treatments :

Treatments may include following options, alone or in combination:

• Surgery – Surgical options include:

1. Bowel resection: This operation involves cutting into the abdomen to reach the area of the colon or rectum that is affected by the cancer. The surgeon cuts out the cancer as well as the parts of the colon or rectum that are next to it. Then the two healthy ends of the colon or rectum are sewn back together.

2. Liver resection: In this operation the surgeon cuts out the cancer that has spread to the liver and also cuts out parts of the liver that are next to the cancer. Up to half of your liver can be removed as long as the rest is healthy. If the cancer in your liver is too large to remove with surgery, you may be given chemotherapy to shrink the tumor. If the tumor becomes small enough, it can be removed with surgery.

3. Lung, adrenal, or ovarian resection, depending on where the cancer has spread.
If the cancer that has returned to the intestine is large, more of the colon or rectum may have to be removed.

• Chemotherapy:

In some circumstances, chemotherapy may be advised prior to surgery, even if the metastatic disease appears to be limited to the liver. Chemotherapy after surgery can prolong survival for people whose cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. If surgical removal of the liver metastases is successful, additional chemotherapy is usually recommended after surgery.

• Radiation therapy:

Radiotherapy is not used routinely in this cancer, as it could lead to radiation enteritis, and it is difficult to target specific positions of the colon. It is more common for radiation to be used in rectal cancer, since the rectum does not move as much as the colon and is thus easier to target. If the therapy is given before surgery, radiation may reduce tumor size. This can improve the chances that the tumor will be removed successfully. Radiation before surgery also appears to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back after treatment.

• Targeted therapy: The therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Monoclonal antibody therapy is a type of targeted therapy used in treatment of it.

• Immunotherapy: This therapy enhances the body’s immune system and increases the likelihood that the cancer cells will be killed.

• Monoclonal antibodies: These antibodies are proteins produced in a laboratory that can identify a cancer cell for destruction or prevent the tumor cell from dividing.

• Gene therapy: This therapy involves altering genetic material. Either a new gene is added to the body to improve its capacity to eliminate cancer cells, or a gene is administered directly to the cancer cells to cause their demise. Getting the gene to the right cells in the body is a major challenge. The treatment is still experimental and in its early stages of development.

Cancer of the colon and rectum is common. The risk for development of colorectal cancer in patients with ulcerative colitis appears to depend on the duration of disease, the severity of disease, family history of it. Most importantly, patients need to be educated about the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Recent advances have allowed colorectal cancer screening guidelines to be refined. They have also advocated for the application and enhancement of testing tools. Colorectal cancer incidence and death have already decreased, and screening programs are thought to be responsible for these trends.

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