Colorectal cancer is a disease in which the cells in the rectum or colon are growing out of control. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. The abnormal growth is known as polyps and, they become cancer over time.
Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and the second cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Fatality rates have been falling due to medical advances.
Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal Cancer does not show symptoms during the early stage. Signs and symptoms include:
- Changes in bowel movements
- Constipation or diarrhea
- A feeling that the bowel does not empty properly
- Bloody stool or dark stool
- Bright red blood from the rectum
- Bloating and abdominal pain
- Feeling of fullness even though you are not eating
- Rapid weight loss
- Tiredness and fatigue
Your doctor may recommend screening for colorectal cancer when you have signs of anemia.
Stages of Colorectal Cancer
Stage 0. It is known as carcinoma. The cancer cell during this stage remains within the lining of the colon or rectum. Lesions are in the pre-cancerous stage and are not cancers.
Stage 1. The cancer cell grows in the wall of the intestine. But, it does not spread outside the muscular coat or lymph nodes.
Stage 2. The cancer cell spreads through the wall and outside the muscular layers or adjacent tissues.
Stage 3. It is an advanced stage as the disease has spread to the lymph nodes. The infection spreads to the three lymph nodes.
Stage 4. The cancer cell spreads to distant organs.
Causes and Risk Factors of Colorectal Cancer
There are no specific causes of colorectal disease. Nonetheless, several factors increase your risk of the disease. It includes:
- A history of colorectal cancer. A history of noncancerous colon polyps increases your risk of colon cancer in the future.
- Inflammatory intestinal conditions. Chronic inflammatory disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease increase your risk of colon cancer.
- Inherited syndromes. Gene mutations can increase your risk of colon cancer significantly.
- Family history of colon cancer. A history of a blood relative who has colorectal cancer may also increase your risk of the disease.
Other Risk Factors include:
- Low-fiber and high-fat diet.
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking and alcohol addiction
- Radiation therapy for cancer
How to Diagnose Colorectal Cancer?
- Biomarker testing of the tumor
- Blood tests
- Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)
- Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Chest x-ray.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) or PET-CT scan
Treatment for Colorectal Cancer
- Your doctor may give you anti-cancer drugs
- Radiation therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Targeted therapy