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The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer occurs when tumors form in the lining of the large intestine. It is common in both men and women. The risk of developing colorectal cancer rises after age 50. You're also more likely to get it if you have colorectal polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, eat a diet high in fat, or smoke.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • A feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Frequent gas pains or cramps, or feeling full or bloated
  • Weight loss with no known reason
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting

Because you may not have symptoms at first, it's important to have screening tests. Everyone over 50 should get screened. Tests include colonoscopy and tests for blood in the stool. Treatments for colorectal cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination. Surgery can usually cure it when it is found early.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

The following features are indicative of Colorectal Cancer:
  • change in bowel habits, such as narrowing of the stool, constipation, or diarrhea that lasts for more than a few days
  • a feeling that you need to have a bowel movement
  • rectal bleeding with bright red blood
  • blood in the stool
  • cramping or abdominal pain
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • unintended weight loss

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Common Causes of Colorectal Cancer

The following are the most common causes of Colorectal Cancer:
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • caused due to turning on of oncogenes
  • caused due to turning off tumor suppressor genes

Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Colorectal Cancer:
  • overweight or obese
  • physical inactivity
  • diet that is high in red and processed meats
  • diets high in vegetables, fruits and whole grain fibers
  • smoking
  • heavy alcohol use
  • more common after age 50
  • personal history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer
  • personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
  • family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
  • have an inherited syndrome
  • African Americans in the United States
  • Jews of Eastern European descent
  • type 2 diabetes

Prevention of Colorectal Cancer

No, it is not possible to prevent Colorectal Cancer.
  • accumulation of mutations in specific oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes

Occurrence of Colorectal Cancer

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Colorectal Cancer cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Colorectal Cancer most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Colorectal Cancer can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Colorectal Cancer:
  • Complete blood count: To measure different types of blood cells
  • Liver enzymes: To check liver function
  • Colonoscopy: To check the entire length of the colon and rectum
  • Biopsy: To diagnose colorectal cancer
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: To check if the colon cancer has spread into the liver or other organs
  • Ultrasound: To create images of the inside of the body
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: To detect abnormal areas in the liver, brain or spinal cord where cancer spread
  • Chest x-ray: To check if cancer has spread to the lungs
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: To diagnose cancer
  • Angiography: To check blood vessels

Doctor for Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Colorectal Cancer:
  • Oncologist

Complications of Colorectal Cancer if untreated

Yes, Colorectal Cancer causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Colorectal Cancer is left untreated:
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Colorectal Cancer

The following procedures are used to treat Colorectal Cancer:
  • Surgery: To remove polyp completely
  • Chemotherapy: To kill cancer cells and lowers the risk of cancer recurrence
  • Radiation therapy: To destroy cancer cells that might remain after surgery

Self-care for Colorectal Cancer

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Colorectal Cancer:
  • Avoid smoking: Lowers the risk of colon cancer
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Helps in preventing colon cancer

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Colorectal Cancer

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Colorectal Cancer:
  • Do relaxation exercises: Helps in relieving distress

Patient Support for Treatment of Colorectal Cancer

The following actions may help Colorectal Cancer patients:
  • Keep your close relationships strong: Provides the practical support and helps in dealing with your cancer
  • Learn enough about your cancer: Makes you feel comfortable and helps in making treatment decision

Time for Treatment of Colorectal Cancer

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Colorectal Cancer to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Colorectal Cancer.

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