Colorectal cancer, also referred to as colon cancer, is a pretty deadly form of cancer that has happened to many. In this form of cancer, a cancerous cell starts rapidly multiplying in your colon, creating a tumor in the process. This tumor, if not treated early on, can spread to other organs as well, slowly infecting your body and leading to death.
If you wish to know more about this form of cancer, like its causes, symptoms, and treatment, keep on reading this post till the end.
Colorectal Cancer Stages
The four stages of colorectal cancer are:
Also referred to as carcinoma, tests indicate the presence of cancerous cells, possibly a tumor, inside the colon’s inner wall.
In this stage, the tumor has grown significantly in size, engulfing various portions of your inner colon wall (mucosa).
In this stage, the tumor has started to engulf the outer walls of your colon.
In this stage, the tumor has started to spread to the nearby lymph nodes.
This is the final stage, where cancer has spread to nearby organs as well (metastasized). The organs affected here are the liver, ovaries, and lungs. It can lead to pancreatic cancer and then death in most cases.
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms
Colorectal cancer has become one of the most common types of cancer. It is slowly becoming more and more widespread as the years pass by. Even celebrities like Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) have succumbed to this disease at a very young age. Therefore, if you suffer from any of the symptoms below, get it medically checked immediately.
1. Bloody Poop
One of the most common symptoms of Colorectal cancer is finding blood in your stool. However, having blood in your stool just once might not indicate its presence. If you find that your stool has had blood in it for quite some time, it’s high time for you to visit the doctor.
2. Constant Gastric Problems
If you suddenly start to suffer from various digestive problems like diarrhea and constipation, it could be an early indication. If you take over-the-counter medicines for it, and it still doesn’t seem to go, Colon cancer might be the case.
3. Stomach Aches
Stomach and tummy aches that are persistent for many days with no apparent cause go to the doctor immediately. Such abdominal pain might happen because of the formation of a tumor in your colon (intestines).
4. Abdominal Bloating
If you notice that your tummy suddenly feels bloated and you have accumulated a lot of belly fat in a short period, it can be a concerning sign. If this happens with other symptoms, it can be a sure cause of colon cancer.
5. Nausea And Vomiting
Constantly feeling nauseated and vomiting a lot can mean a lot of things, like lymphoma. If your vomiting doesn’t stop after taking medications for a few days, it’s best to consult a doctor in case you are suffering from something more serious.
6. Sudden Weight Loss
Losing a lot of pounds suddenly can be a sign that something is wrong with the organs in your belly. While you can maintain a healthy diet and exercise to lose weight, losing a lot at one go spells trouble.
7. Shortness Of Breath
In case you feel like you are suffering from breathlessness and find it difficult to breathe normally, then something’s wrong. This can either be due to lung infections and lung cancer or other forms of cancer as well.
8. Constant Fatigue
Feeling constantly fatigued can be an early sign that indicates the development of tumors in your body. A potent indicator of cancer is constant fatigue, even after you work up from sleep or finish a meal.
Anemia is one of the telltale signs of tumor development in your body half the time. If you have any of the above symptoms, like sudden weight loss, nausea, and constant fatigue, it could also mean you are anemic, especially if your skin becomes paler.
Colorectal Cancer Causes
The primary causes of Colorectal cancer are:
Smoking tobacco is a surefire way to ensure that you suffer from cancer when you grow older. While lung cancer might be the most common cancer, you can develop other forms of cancer due to carcinogens present in tobacco smoke.
Drinking too much alcohol for years can slowly damage your liver, stomach, intestines, and kidneys. Therefore, drinking every day for years can lead to kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and colon cancer as well.
Gaining too many unhealthy fats in your body and having a BMI indicating being overweight is terrible. Being obese can lead to various adverse blood diseases, like cancer and high blood sugar levels. Therefore, learning about the best weight loss exercise equipment and stomach vacuum exercise.
4. Processed Diet
Processed food products, even groceries, and red meat sell more than actual organically fresh produce. Even though its sales have increased, it is an alarming cause of concern. This is because processed food contains a lot of preservatives which have become the leading cause of colorectal cancer.
5. Lack Of Exercise
Leading an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle with no exercise can lead to the development of tumors.
6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is a type of disease that affects your bowel movement and other gastric functions. Appendicitis, ulcerative colitis, and other colon diseases can lead to the formation of colon tumors if not treated on time.
Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis
There are various ways to diagnose colorectal cancer. The most successful methods of accurately doing so are:
1. Blood Tests
Blood tests are the most basic way to diagnose almost all forms of diseases. Various blood tests can be used, like CBC (Complete Blood Count), CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel), and CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen Assay). CEA is the most effective test here since high levels of CEA mean colorectal cancer.
2. Body Scans
In order to identify the location of the tumor in your colon, various body cans are used. This includes tests like X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, PET scans, and ultrasound imaging.
In a biopsy, tissue samples from your colon, especially your rectum, are taken to the lab to find the presence of cancerous cells.
Colonoscopy involves using various forms of colorectal cancer screening tests, like:
- FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test)
- gFOBT (Guaiac-based Fecal Occult Blood Test)
- Fecal DNA Test
- Virtual Colonoscopy
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Colorectal Cancer Treatment
After the patient is diagnosed with colorectal cancer and its stage is identified, treatment will proceed accordingly.
Here, four types of surgeries can be used. They are:
- Polypectomy: Here, surgery is used to remove all cancerous polyps that have grown around the tumor.
- Partial Colectomy: In this process, the part of your intestine containing the tumor is surgically removed. Then, the connecting parts of the colon are reattached using anastomosis.
- Colostomy: This surgery is used for more severe cases of colorectal cancer. It follows the same procedure as a colectomy. However, the cut-open part of the colon is not reattached. Instead, the bowel pipe is used to collect all the bowels in a bowel bag.
- Ablation using radio frequencies: In this process, both hot and cold waves from electricity are used to destroy the tumor directly.
Chemotherapy, by far, is one of the most common treatment procedures for treating all forms of cancer. Here, chemo drugs are used to shrink the tumor and reduce all its symptoms and effects.
3. Monoclonal Antibody Therapy
In this procedure, several artificially-created antibodies are introduced directly into the tumor using surgical injections. Here, these antibodies start growing inside the tumor, destroying all the cancerous cells from the inside.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
People have various queries regarding Colon cancer. Here are my answers to these queries:
Q1. What Is The Main Cause Of Colorectal Cancer?
Ans. Most doctors and researchers have found improper diet and an unhealthy lifestyle to be the primary causes of colon cancer. Specifically, smoking, lack of exercise, and a low-fiber diet with processed foods have been the leading causes.
Q2. What Is The Survival Rate Of Colorectal Cancer?
Ans. When it comes to the 5-year survival rate period, the survival rate of colon cancer is 91% at Stages 1 and 2. At Stage 3, this lowers to 72%, further lowering to 14% at Stage 4.
Q3. Who Is At High Risk For Colorectal Cancer?
Ans. When it comes to Colon cancer, older people are at the highest risk. However, due to the current lifestyle of processed foods, more middle-aged people are susceptible to this disease as time passes.
Colorectal cancer is one of the more common types of cancer that people are becoming more and more susceptible to. The leading causes of colon cancer are an improper diet of processed foods, along with an unhealthy lifestyle. Its symptoms include finding blood in your stool, along with abdominal pain and bloating. It can be treated by surgery and chemotherapy.