Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer aka Bowel Cancer starts in the large bowel (colon) and back passage (rectum). It is the 3rd most common Cancer worldwide, with an estimated 2 million cases globally. Symptoms include bleeding from the back passage, a change in your normal bowel habits, weight loss, pain in your abdomen or back passage. Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy. Get verified second opinions from OncoConnect’s curated list of international Oncologists.

About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is also called as Bowel cancer. It starts in the large bowel (colon) and the back passage (rectum). Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, with an estimated 2 million cases globally.

Symptoms of bowel cancer include bleeding from the back passage, a change in your normal bowel habits, feeling of needing to strain your back passage (as if you need to poo) even after opening your bowels, weight loss, pain in your abdomen or back passage. Factors which can increase your chances of getting bowel cancer include family history, smoking, age, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), history of colorectal polyps and Lynch Syndrome.

Sometimes cancer can block the bowel. This is called as bowel obstruction. The symptoms include:

  • cramping pains in the abdomen
  • feeling bloated
  • constipation
  • being unable to pass wind
  • being sick

If you think it is bowel obstruction the please go to your nearest hospital as this could be an emergency.

Once bowel cancer has been diagnosed, doctors will determine the stage of cancer and whether or not it is metastatic; based on which doctors would be able to devise a treatment plan.

Bowel cancer treatment varies depending on the stage of cancer and whether or not the cancer has spread. Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

To know more about bowel cancer you can refer to our Bowel Cancer Guide

screening

Colon and rectal cancers are not rare but are difficult to screen. Screening is recommended for both men and women above the age of 50, but for people at average risk for colorectal cancer, regular screening should start earlier.

Bowel cancer screening program uses a test called as Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) – This is a stool-based test done yearly.

Screening could also e done through Colonoscopy or a Virtual colonoscopy (also called a Computed Tomographic Colonography).

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treatment

Surgery:

    • Polypectomy and local excision: Some early colon cancers (stage 0 and some early-stage 1 tumours) and most polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy.
    • Colectomy: This is a surgery to remove all or part f the colon. Nearby lymph nodes are also removed. If only part of the colon is removed, it is called as hemicolectomy, partial colectomy or segmental colectomy. If all of the colon is removed, it is called a total colectomy.

Chemotherapy: This is given by administrating drugs intravenously (IV), intra-arterially (IA) or via intraperitoneal (IP) injections to destroy cancer cells. This treatment can last up to many weeks.

Radiotherapy: This is performed by directing radiation beams at the targeted area, and like chemotherapy, this treatment usually requires multiple sessions which are performed over a series of weeks.

Targeted Therapy: This is performed by administrating a number of drugs to the patient which will target certain components of the cancer cells.

Immunotherapy: This is the use of medicines to stimulate a person’s own immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells more effectively.

Treatments are often used in combination with each other, particularly is the cancer is advanced and surgery is being performed. Chemotherapy may often be used before surgery to shrink the tumour or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that could not be removed during surgery.

You may experience vomiting, nausea, hair loss, fatigue & body pain during treatment. Please do not hesitate to discuss this further with your doctor, for more information on the management of any symptoms.

recovery

  • Most patients require a post – surgical recovery period of up to 4- 6 weeks. Speak to your surgeon to understand the amount of recovery you would need following your treatment.
  • Appropriate rest is also important during this period.
  • If there is pain and discomfort then please speak to your doctor for its management.

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length of stay

Hospital Stay:     3-7 days for surgery

Total Stay:           Depending upon treatment the length of stay can wary from 2 weeks to a few months

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