What is Colorectal Cancer, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is the Colon and Rectum?

The intestines are divided into two segments; the small intestine and the large intestine, the latter which the major part of it is called the colon, and further continues to turn into the rectum, which connects it with the anal canal and anus.

What is Colorectal Cancer?

This is a type of cancer that develops on the inner lining of the colon or the rectum that begins with a small polyp that was left unchecked.

How does it develop?

The inner lining tissue of the colon and the rectum is a suitable environment for the development of polyps. Most of which are benign, but at least one identified kind can be cancerous.

The size of the polyp differentiates the chance of the polyp to either remain benign or turn cancerous. A polyp less than 1cm has less than a 1% chance of turning cancerous, while a polyp over 2cm has over 40% of turning cancerous.

What causes Colorectal cancer?

While the main reason behind the disease is unknown until now, but some factors are related to the development of the disease.

  1. Other diseases: Some diseases that develop in the colon are closely related to developing CRC; such as, presence of polyps, or family history of polyps that turned cancerous, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease.
  2. Heredity: Like all types of cancer, CRC can be inherited through the development of diseases such as Peutz-Jeger syndrome, Gardner’s syndrome, or Hereditary familial polyposis disease. In all of these diseases, patient develops polyps at an early age, which if left untreated will most likely turn cancerous.
  3. Diet: Although the connection is unclear, but researchers found that people whom incorporate fruits and vegetables in their diet have a lesser chance of developing CRC, while those whom eat red meat and animal fat have a bigger chance of developing CRC.
  4. Lifestyle: Smoking and drinking alcohol are closely related to increasing the chance of developing CRC.
  5. Old case: If you previously had CRC, chances are bigger of recurrence.

Colorectal cancer Symptoms:

Although in its early stages CRC may not develop symptoms – which is a primary reason to undergo early checkups -, but some symptoms are related to it.

  1. Changes in bowel movement: that is to say constipation or diarrhea.
  2. Discomfort: feeling of incomplete evacuation of the bowels, or sudden urgency to use the bathroom.
  3. Bleeding or cramping in the rectum.
  4. Presence of blood in the feces.
  5. Discomfort and bloating.
  6. Unexplained fatigue, loss of weight, or loss of appetite.
  7. Pelvic pain which is a symptom of CRC in the late stages.

Although most of these symptoms could be associated with other diseases as well, so it is better to consult your doctor if you notice any of them.

Colorectal cancer Diagnosis:

Could be done through several methods.

  1. Colonoscopy: the preferred method to diagnose CRC.
  2. Barium Enema.
  3. CT Colon.
  4. Fecal occult blood test.
  5. Genetic makeup tests.

How is CRC treated?

According to the stage of the disease, CRC treatment could incorporate one or all of the following.

  1. Surgery.
  2. Chemotherapy.
  3. Radiotherapy.
  4. Biological treatment.

Avoiding CRC:

CRC can be avoided through multiple ways, namely:

  1. Quitting smoking.
  2. Avoiding alcoholic drinks
  3. A balanced diet composed of favorable amounts of fruits and vegetables
  4. Early treatment of Inflammatory bowel diseases

However, remains that the most appropriate and favorable means of avoiding CRC is early screening for the diseases which would increase the success rate of treating it in case of affection by 90%.

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