Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is also known as Colorectal Carcinoma. This is the cancer or malignant tumor, of the large intestine that can affect the colon or rectum. The colon is located five or six feet of the large intestine, and rectum is located five or seven feet above the anal canal. Colorectal Cancer is the third most common cancer and fourth most common cancer for cancer-deaths in the world. Earlier colorectal cancer was rare, but now it has increased, especially in aged persons. Colorectal Cancer is reported more in developed regions of the world.
AGE OF THE PATIENT, AFFECTED WITH CRC:
Colorectal Cancer increases after 40 years, but now there is a rise after 50 years, more than 90%. It has also increased in aged persons between 60 and 75 than in younger than 40 years. Both men and women are included in this age group.
RISK FACTOR AND CAUSES OF COLORECTAL CANCER:
The strong risk factors are:
1) diet, tobacco smoking, consuming too much of alcohol and family history.
2) FAMILY HISTORY: Inherited genes, environmental factors or a combination of these can cause CRC. A colonoscopy is done to screen the disease. If the father was diagnosed at the age of 50, the test is done for the child at 40.
3) DIET: Processed meats like beef, lamb, hot dogs increase CRC. Frying, grilling or broiling at high temperatures can increase the risk.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and high-fibre grains can reduce the risk of getting CRC.
4) SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE: Inactive Persons have a chance of getting CRC.
5) SMOKING: In smoking, there are some substances related to the cause of cancer, it that is swallowed; it can cause colorectal cancer.
6) ALCOHOL: Too much of drinking than required like more than one peg by women and more than two pegs by men can lead to colorectal cancer.
7) HISTORY OF COLORECTAL CANCER: If a person has had CRC earlier, the cancer can develop in other parts of the colon and rectum.
8) HISTORY OF INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE ( IBD ): If a patient has experienced IBD for a long duration and depending on how much the colon has affected, he can develop CRC.
9) OBESITY: If a person is overweight, he might develop CRC.
10) TYPE II DIABETES: This is mainly associated with rectal cancer, and the recovery may also be slow.
SYMPTOMS OF COLORECTAL CANCER:
- Blood in stools,
- Bowel habits change, diarrhoea or constipation,
- Pain in the abdomen,
- The person looks pale –anaemia.
- Stool, the color might change due to blood in the poop, might be dark red or black and so the stool looks like tar.
- Shortness of breath,
- Weight loss.
STAGES OF COLORECTAL STAGES:
When someone has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the doctor checks if the disease has spread and how far. This is known as STAGING. It helps the doctor to find out how much of cancer is in the body, how serious it is and at what stage to plan the treatment.
The staging is determined be the TNM system—the extent of the tumour (T), spread to the lymph nodes (N ), and the spread (metastasis) to different sites(M).
- STAGE 0: The cancer is in the early stage, also known as carcinoma in situ. At this stage it has not grown beyond the inner layer of the colon or rectum.
- STAGE 1: It has grown through the inner layer and has not spread to the nearby lymph nodes or to the distant sites.
- STAGE IIA : At this stage, the cancer has grown into the outer layers of the colon or rectum but has not gone through them. It has not reached the nearby organs and has not spread to the nearby lymph nodes or the distant sites.
- STAGE IIB: The cancer has grown through the wall of the colon or rectum, but has not grown into the nearby tissues or organs or spread to the nearby lymph nodes or to the distant sites.
- STAGE IIC: The cancer has grown through the wall of the colon or rectum and to the nearby tissues or organs, but has not spread to the lymph nodes or distant sites.
- STAGE IIIA: The cancer has grown through the mucosa and submucosa and also spread to the nearby lymph nodes, but not into the nodes or to the distant sites.
- STAGE IIIB: The cancer has grown into the outer layers of the colon and rectum and has not reached the nearby organs or the nodes and the distant sites.
- STAGE IIIC: The cancer has grown into the outer layers of the colon and rectum and has spread to the nearby lymph nodes and not to the distant sites.
- STAGE IVA: The cancer may or may not have grown through the wall of the colon or rectum and also not to the nearby lymph nodes. It has spread to the one distant organ but not the distant parts of the abdominal cavity.
- STAGE IVB: This stage has the same features as stage IVA but has spread to more than one distant organ.
- STAGE IVC: At this stage the cancer has spread to the distant parts of the lining of the abdominal cavity or not to the distant organs or lymph nodes.
TREATMENTS FOR COLORECTAL CANCER:
The different treatments are:
- SURGERY: Surgery is the only one treatment that can cure colorectal cancer through conventional (open) or laparoscopically.
- RADIOTHERAPY: This treatment can be done at different stages of colorectal cancer.
- CHEMOTHERAPY: In spite of advances in this treatment, every year many lose their lives because of the adverse effects of the anticancer drugs.
- TARGETED THERAPIES.
KNOWLEDGE AND AWARENESS OF COLORECTAL CANCER:
Though the educated have some knowledge of the disease but are not aware of the risk factors, symptoms, screening and the latest treatment methods. People are not aware that diabetes is an important risk factor of COLORECTAL CANCER. So seminars, school visits and through social media, people can be educated about the symptoms and diagnostic procedures.