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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer

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Colorectal cancer also called colon cancer or large bowel cancer is that forms in the tissues of the colon that is colon, rectum or appendix and the normal cells become abnormal and form more cells in an uncontrolled way resulting in abnormal tissue growth

 

It is the third most common cause of cancer and second leading cause of death among cancers and this is adenomatous most of the times which is benign in nature initially and can turn into cancer anytime diagnosed through colonoscopy or history most of the times and treated with surgery followed by chemotherapy found between the ages of 60 to 70

Risk factors:

  • Family history of colonic cancer can be a risk factor
  • People between 60 to 70’s are more prone to develop
  • Polyps of the colon which are adenomatous
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis increases the risk by ongoing inflammation of the colon
  • Smoking and alcohol are risk factors with more risk associated with women more than men
  • Obesity and cessation from physical activity can increase the risk as well
  • Diet low in fruits, vegetables and high in red meat or charred foods can increase the risk
  • Drugs such as aspirin and other non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs can increase the risk
  • Viral infections such as Human Papilloma virus can cause

Causes:

  • Rectal bleeding or blood in stools
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort with gas or cramps
  • Diarrhea, constipation or obstruction, distension of abdomen and vomiting
  • Fatigue or loss of weight
  • Metastatic symptoms commonly involving liver and biliary symptoms such as jaundice, biliary obstruction or pale stools

Diagnosis:

Based on presenting symptoms and proper history the diagnosis made but for confirmation any of the following procedures are done

Common screening and diagnostic procedures include the following:

  • Rectal examination
  • Stool blood test for the presence of blood in stool
  • Stool DNA test: This test involves analyzing several DNA markers, which come from cells that are shed by colon cancers or precancerous polyps into stool.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy for examining rectum and sigmoid colon
  • Barium enema: This diagnostic test uses an barium enema to  evaluate entire large intestine with an X-ray
  • Colonoscopy for full view of colon and rectum
  • CT scan or MRI

Treatment

  • Surgery with excision of the cancerous part and a small surrounding part of the colon
  • Surgery followed by Chemotherapy and/or Radiotherapy
  • Drugs such as bevacizumab (Avastin), cetuximab (Erbitux) and panitumumab (Vectibix) can be given along with chemotherapy drugs or alone
  • Colectomy followed by diversion of fecal matter through a stoma opened to outside.