Everything You Need to Know About Colorectal Cancer — Colorectal Clinic of  Tampa Bay

The most frequent cancer, colorectal cancer, accounts for the highest percentage of all cancer-related fatalities. The colon (large intestine) or rectum is where colorectal cancer (CRC) first appears. These two organs are located in the digestive system’s lowest part, and the colon ends with the rectum. 

Colorectal cancer occurs when abnormal cells proliferate in the colon lining or the large intestine (also known as the rectum). It can impact both genders and has the second-highest mortality rate from cancer. Typically, CRC strikes older persons at least seventy years old. Nevertheless, it can occur at any age. Learn more about colorectal cancer below.

What causes colorectal cancer?

Numerous reasons can cause colorectal cancer, and inherited or acquired genetic alterations are some of them. Although they enhance the likelihood, these mutations do not guarantee that colorectal cancer will develop. The colon lining may develop polyps due to some mutations’ accumulation of aberrant cells. In such a case, routine Hong Kong colorectal cancer screening is advisable.

Numerous risk factors can raise a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer, either individually or in combination.

Risk Elements Beyond Your Control

You can’t avoid certain situations, like:

  • Your age—the majority of those affected are over 50 years old
  • Irritable bowel syndrome or polyps
  • A history of colorectal cancer or precancerous colon polyps in the family. What are polyps? In your intestines, these are growths. Most of them are benign, but some, if not eliminated, can develop into colorectal cancer. Adenomas and hyperplastic polyps are the two most prevalent kinds of intestinal polyps. They form when there are issues with the colon’s lining’s ability to create and repair cells.

Risk factors you can control

Try to stay away from these things to reduce your risk of contracting colorectal cancer:

  • Excess consumption of a lot of red, processed, or highly-heated meats
  • Obesity 
  • Not enough exercise
  • Smoking
  • Heavy drinking

What are the symptoms?

It’s crucial to be tested because colorectal cancer has no early warning symptoms, and it is better treatable if it is discovered early. As the condition worsens, you might notice blood in your stools or have stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, undiagnosed weight loss, or exhaustion. Tumors are typically more extensive and more challenging to treat when these symptoms arise.

Diagnosis and treatment

The degree of any disease’s cure depends on the severity of the diagnosis and subsequent therapies. In certain circumstances, discovering colorectal cancer early is advantageous because it may be treatable. 

Hong kong colorectal cancer screening aids with early tumor detection, which contributes to the prevention of colorectal cancer deaths. The polyp will be removed during the colonoscopy if your doctor detects one.

Typically, the most accurate diagnostic techniques are used, including CT/MRI/PET scan, tumor marker (CEA), and colonoscopy and biopsy. Standard screening techniques similar to these include colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy and FOBT (Fecal occult blood testing).

Virtual Colonoscopy

This presents a 3-D representation of your colon using a CT scan. The test can detect polyps or other issues without inserting a camera into your body. The primary drawbacks are that the test can miss minor polyps; if your doctor finds any, you’ll still require an actual colonoscopy. Your doctor might advise a virtual colonoscopy once every five years.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

As an alternative to a colonoscopy, your doctor might suggest this test. During the test, the doctor examines your rectum and the base of your colon using a thin tube that displays cancer and polyps. You should get this test every five years if your physician recommends it.

Fecal Blood Tests

The fecal occult blood test can identify blood in the stool, which may indicate malignancy. You may provide up to three tiny samples of your feces for the doctor to examine, depending on the type of test. These tests are routinely suggested by doctors each year. You may require a colonoscopy if your samples exhibit evidence of blood.

DNA Testing as a Home Option

Cologuard is a brand-new test that examines your stool sample for blood or suspicious DNA. Although the test is quite effective at detecting colon cancer, a colonoscopy is still required as a follow-up. Note that cologuard cannot substitute the main test. A stool DNA test is advised every three years.

The accurate diagnosis

A biopsy is the following step if a test indicates a potential tumor. Your doctor removes polyps and obtains tissue samples from any suspicious-looking areas of the colon during the colonoscopy. A specialist inspects the tissue under a microscope by specialists to determine its cancerousness.

Colorectal Cancer’s Stages

To determine the cancer’s spread level, experts “stage” any tumors they discover. If your cancer is in a later stage, it is more serious. Sometimes, a tumor’s size doesn’t matter. Staging aids your doctor in selecting the best course of treatment for you.

  • Stage 0: Cancer in the rectum or colon’s innermost lining is considered in stage 0.
  • Stage I: Cancer has advanced to the colon’s or rectum’s muscle layer.
  • Stage II: Cancer has penetrated the outermost layer of the colon or the color
  • Stage III: cancer has spread to one or more local lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV: cancer has spread to the liver and other organs.

Is Surgery Beneficial?

Early-stage colorectal cancer surgery has some cure rate thanks to early diagnosis and the Hong Kong cancer fund, which supports the patients. Doctors remove the tumors and surrounding tissue in all but the final stage. Your doctor might need to remove a substantial portion of your colon or rectum if they are large. Surgery won’t cure you if cancer affects your liver, lungs, or other organs. However, it could lessen your symptoms.

Survival rate

The prognosis for your healing depends on the stage of your cancer. Medical professionals refer to the percentage of patients who survive five years or more after being diagnosed as the “5-year survival rate”. The 5-year survival rate for Stage I ranges from 87% to 92%. But keep in mind that statistics cannot predict everyone’s future. Ask your doctor what those statistics mean for you because many factors can change your prognosis for colorectal cancer.

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