Colorectal Cancer Information - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Alternative name :- Colon cancer
The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine (large bowel). Colon and rectum cancers, which are sometimes referred to together as "colorectal cancer," arise from the lining of the large intestine. When cancer arises from the lining of an organ like the large intestine, it is called a carcinoma .
Colorectal cancer is the second most common visceral malignant neoplasm in the United States and Europe. It's the third most common cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death. Incidence is equally distributed between men and women; however, it's estimated that, in 2003, over 100,000 new cases of colon cancer were diagnosed and almost 54% in women. Colorectal malignant tumors are usually adenocardnomas. About half of these are sessile lesions of the rectosigmoid area; the rest are polypoid lesions.
Colorectal cancer tends to progress slowly and remains localized for a long time. Consequently, it's potentially curable in about 90% of patients if early diagnosis allows resection before nodal involvement. With improved diagnosis, the overall 5-year survival rate is about 60% for adjacent organ or nodal spread, and greater than 90% for early, localized disease.
What Causes Colorectal Cancer?
The exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown, but studies showing higher concentrations in areas of greater economic development suggest a relationship to diet (excess saturated animal fat). Other factors that magnify the risk of developing colorectal cancer include:
Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer result from local obstruction and, in later stages, from direct extension to adjacent organs (bladder, prostate, ureters, vagina, sacrum) and distant metastasis (usually liver). In the early stages, signs and symptoms are typically vague and depend on the anatomic location and function of the bowel segment containing the tumor. Later signs or symptoms usually include pallor, cachexia, asdtes, hepatomegaly, or lymphangiectasis.
On the right side of the colon (which absorbs water and electrolytes), early tumor growth causes no signs of obstruction because the tumor tends to grow along the bowel rather than surround the lumen, and the fecal content in this area is normally liquid. It may, however, cause black, tarry stools; anemia; and abdominal aching, pressure, or dull cramps. As the disease progresses, the patient develops weakness, fatigue, exertional dyspnea, vertigo and, eventually, diarrhea, obstipation, anorexia, weight loss, vomiting, and other signs or symptoms of intestinal obstruction.1n addition, a tumor on the right side may be palpable.
On the left side, a tumor causes signs of an obstruction even in early stages because stool consistency in this area is fonned. A tumor on the left side commonly causes rectal bleeding (in many cases ascribed to hemorrhoids), intermittent abdominal fullness or cramping, and rectal pressure. As the disease progresses, the patient develops obstipation, diarrhea, or "ribbon" or pencil-shaped stools. Typically, he notices that passage of a stool or flatus relieves the pain. At this stage, bleeding from the colon becomes obvious, with dark or bright red blood in the feces and mucus in or on the stools.
With a rectal tumor, the first symptom is a change in bowel habits, in many cases beginning with an urgent need to defecate on rising (morning diarrhea) or obstipation alternating with diarrhea. Other signs are blood or mucus in stool and a sense of incomplete evacuation. Late in the disease, pain begins as a feeling of rectal fullness that later becomes a dull,
Only a tumor biopsy can verify colorectal cancer, but other tests help detect it:
Treatment for Colorectal Cancer
The best treatment for colorectal cancer is prevention. Colorectal screening decreases the incidence of the disease by 75% to 90%. Other treatments recommended to prevent colorectal cancer include a diet:
A recent study found that women who took aspirin twice a week or more had a 44% reduction in risk after 20 years. The risk was also reduced in women who took a multivitamin with folic add for more than 15 years. However, it may take more than a decade for aspirin use to benefit and may cause gastric ulcers and hemorrhagic strokes. Thus, these aren't substitutes for regular colorectal cancer screening.
Chemotherapy is indicated for patients with metastasis, residual disease, or a recurrent inoperable tumor. Drugs used in such treatment commonly include fluorouracil with levamisole, leucovorin, methotrexate, or streptozocin. Patients. whose tumors have extended to regional lymph nodes may receive fluorouradl and levamisole for 1 year postoperatively.
Radiation therapy induces tumor regression and may be used before or after surgery or combined with chemotherapy, especially fluorouracil.
Older patients may ignore bowel symptoms, believing that they result from constipation, poor diet, or hemorrhoids. Evaluate your older patient's responses to your questions carefully.
Special considerations or prevention
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