Colorectal Cancer: Types, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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Colorectal Cancer: Types, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

In the last few years, colorectal cancer has emerged as the third most common cancer worldwide. As per the World Health Organisation, colorectal cancer, which is typically seen in people aged 50 or above, has grappled 10% of cancer patients with its severe symptoms. Since this is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally,  on-time diagnosis is vital. While its causes are unknown, colorectal cancer prevention is possible if risk factors are subdued with vigilance and precautionary measures. 

If you have colorectal cancer or know anyone who is suffering from colorectal cancer, this article can help you understand and manage the disease a little better. Here, you will read all about colorectal cancer, including types, causes, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment. 

Let’s begin. 

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is also known as colon cancer or rectal cancer. Colon cancer develops in the large intestine (colon) of the body. It starts as a growth in the cells of the large intestine. These growths in cells are called polyps. 

The polyps can be cancerous or non-cancerous, depending on the type of polyp. The doctors will perform some screening tests and examine the polyps to determine whether it is cancerous or not. In case the polyp size is found to be more than 3 cm, it contains the risk of cancer. Similarly, if more than 3 polyps are found in the colon, they are also likely to cause cancer in the colon. It usually takes about 10 years to convert polyp into cancer.

Sometimes, doctors detect polyps in the pre-cancerous stage and operate it successfully. But if the cancerous polyp is left untreated or undetected, the cancer finds a passage via blood vessels or lymph nodes to reach other parts of the body.

Types of Colorectal Cancer

The most common types of colorectal cancer include: 

Adenocarcinomas

In case the cancer develops in those cells that produce mucus to lubricate the inner lining of the colon and rectum, it is called adenocarcinoma cancer. Most commonly, this type of cancer grapples the patients. 

Carcinoid Tumors

This type of cancer develops in the hormone-making cells in the long intestine. 

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

This type of cancer usually starts to develop in the special walls of the colon. This can make any part of the digestive system cancerous. 

Lymphomas 

Lymphoma cancer is a cancer of the immune system cells of the human body. This type of cancer develops in the lymph nodes. It can also develop in the rectum, colon, or other organs of the digestive system.

Sarcomas 

Sarcomas colorectal cancer is less seen in patients. It is an unusual intestinal cancer. This type of cancer develops in the blood vessels, muscles, or tissues that are connected to the colon (large intestine). 

Causes of Colorectal Cancer

It has still not been established what colorectal cancer causes. Like other types of cancer, this cancer also occurs when there comes an error in DNA’s normal functioning and mutation begins. This mutation happens uncontrollably in cancer patients. Simply put, the cells start to divide and multiply without any limit. In a normal human body, cells die every day. But in the cancer patients, the cells do not die. They only get multiplied and divided with one another. As a result, they only grow and become polyps. 

Still, no medical fact has come to light that can truly determine which cause is accountable for generating cancerous polyps. However, some colorectal cancer risk factors accelerate the risk of colorectal cancer among people. Check out the following pointers to evaluate what you can do to save yourself from cancer: 

1. Unhealthy Dietary Habits: Eating high-fat and empty-calorie food in excessive amounts increases the threat of obesity and colorectal cancer in the human body. Furthermore, the excessive intake of red meat and processed meat food can be the cause of cancerous disease.

2. Excessive Consumption of Alcohol: Those who consume alcohol in excessive amounts develop high-risk factors in their bodies to become the victim of cancer. Therefore, healthcare regulatory bodies recommend the intake of alcoholic beverages (carcinogens) in only a limited amount. 

3. Cancerous Tobacco: The intake of tobacco in any form often becomes the cause of a cancerous disease. This carcinogen usually dysfunctions the DNA in the human body.

4. Stagnant Lifestyle: Those people who do less physical activities are more prone to cancer. Physical activities reduce the risk of cancer. 

5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Those who often suffer from the inflammatory intestines may develop the early symptoms of colorectal cancer easily. 

6. Inherited Cancerous DNA: Some cancerous cells or DNA run in families. In the case of colon cancer, adenomatous polyposis and Lynch syndrome are the inherited syndromes for cancer. 

7. Diabetes: People who fall victim to high insulin resistance are more likely to develop the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer in their intestines. 

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Check out the following pointers to learn about colorectal cancer symptoms: 

1. Bloated Stomach: If you have been suffering from a bloated stomach for more than one week, you should not ignore this. This can be a symptom of colon cancer. Early detection of the disease will make your doctor operate on cancer at an initial stage. 

2. Abdominal Pain: Abdominal pain can be mild or severe. Not all abdominal pains are caused by colorectal cancer. But if it is frequent, you should  see your doctor for a cancer diagnosis. 

3. Blood in Your Stool: If you see blood in your stool without having the cause of haemorrhoids, this is a warning sign of colon cancer. You should visit the doctor immediately for cancer treatment. 

4. Abnormal Bowel Movements: If you face persistent abnormal bowel movements in your stomach, this can be a symptom of colorectal cancer. Usually, the patient feels the need to go to the bathroom even after poop.

5. Vomiting: Vomiting can be caused by any digestive disorder. But if you are vomiting excessively for more than 24 hours, you should talk to the doctor.

6. Anaemia and Debility: If you feel weakness in your body along with any other symptoms mentioned above, you should meet your doctor. This can be a sign of cancer. Furthermore, colon cancer patients bear the symptoms of anaemia, loss of appetite, and early fatigue in their bodies. 

Note: You should never ignore unusual symptoms in your body.  Cancer symptoms can reach other parts of the body so fast. As per the pathophysiology of colorectal cancer the stage 4 colorectal cancer symptoms can make the liver, lungs, or ovaries cancerous. 

Treatment of Colorectal Cancer

When the patient is diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the colorectal surgeon recommends certain treatments based on the health condition of the patient and the type of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer survival rate is high. But, some people die of this disease when they don’t get treatment on time. Read the following recommendations given by the doctor for colorectal cancer treatment: 

1. Surgical Treatments: Most commonly, doctors recommend surgical treatments to cure colorectal cancer. The colorectal surgeon only operates on that organ that has been grappled by the cancer. Under this treatment, the surgeon will try to cure cancer from its roots. The following types of surgical treatments may be recommended by the doctor, depending on your medical condition: 

  • Polypectomy
  • Partial colectomy
  • Ablation and embolisation for colorectal cancer

2. Systematic Treatments: Based on the stage of cancer, doctors sometimes recommend systematic treatments with or without surgery. These systematic treatments are non-operatable. Here, the cancer is typically treated with oral medications. In some cases, the doctors inject these drugs via the bloodstream, which can reduce the intensity of the disease. Healthcare experts may often recommend the following systematic treatments:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Immunotherapy

In a Nutshell

To conclude, medical health emergencies come without knocking at the door. All of a sudden the warning signs of a deadly disease like colorectal cancer can become visible. Your preparation to combat serious diseases shows how vigilant you are for your and your family’s health and safety. While having a health insurance policy is optional, its benefits make it nothing less than a necessity. Make sure you are prepared for unexpected medical emergencies arising due to a deadly illness like cancer. Care Health Insurance offers comprehensive cancer insurance for cancer patients under its Super Mediclaim. You can connect with our experts to know more about the plan benefits and coverage option. 

>> Also Read: Can Gut Microbiome Variations Predict Colorectal Cancer Risk?

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. Kindly consult your general physician for verified medical advice. The health insurance benefits are subject to policy terms and conditions. Refer to your policy documents for more information.

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