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Home >> Specialities >> Cancer Care Treatment >> Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer

With more than 1.93 cases diagnosed every year, Colorectal Cancer is ranked as the 3rd most common cancer affecting people across the globe. In India, the annual incidence of Colorectal Cancer is comparatively lower, with colon cancer ranking 8th and Rectal Cancer at 9th. Colorectal Cancer can affect people of any age group; however, it is mostly seen in people above 50 years of age. For colon cancer, the average age of diagnosis for men is 68 and that for women is 72, whereas that for rectal cancer is 63 for both males and females.

What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal Cancer is an umbrella term used for cancers that originate from the cells of the colon and rectum. The former refers to the large intestine, whereas the latter refers to the last portion of the large intestine, connecting it to the rectum. 

What are the symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?
Common symptoms that may point towards the possibility of one having Colorectal Cancer include:

  • Frequent and unexplained changes in bowel habits 
  • Traces of blood in the stool 
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort and pain 
  • Fatigue and weakness 
  • Tenesmus 
  • Anaemia due to blood loss 
  • Unintended weight loss

When should you see a Specialist?
It is advisable to see a specialist as soon as you detect any of the above-mentioned symptoms. All these just points towards the possibility of you having colorectal cancer but are not definitive. In order to confirm whether a patient has colorectal cancer or not, doctors perform some physical examinations and tests. The sooner you consult a specialist, the quicker will be the diagnosis leading to better treatment outcomes.

What causes Colorectal Cancer? 
Colorectal Cancer is the result of certain mutations in the DNA of the cells found within the colon and rectum. There are several factors that may be responsible for triggering such changes. These include:

  • Having inflammatory bowel disease
  • Having a family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps 
  • Certain genetic conditions like FAP or Lynch syndrome 
  • Being obese
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Consuming food that is low in fiber and high in fat

Modalities used for the diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer 

  • Blood analysis 
  • Colonoscopy 
  • Biopsy 
  • Computerized tomography or CT scan 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI 
  • Ultrasound 
  • PET scan 

Treatment options available for Colorectal Cancer

  • Surgery (procedures like polypectomy, endoscopic mucosal resection, partial colectomy, and lymph node removal)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted drug therapy 
  • Immunotherapy 

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