Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers, especially in men. You can learn about the latest methods of treating colorectal cancer in Turkey/Istanbul.
Colorectal cancer occurs when the cells lining the rectum or colon become abnormal and grow out of control. Because symptoms often don't appear until cancer has developed, it's important to get regular screenings for colorectal cancer.
It is the first cancer in men and the third cancer in women in the world.
What is colon and colorectal (rectum) cancer?
Cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer, while cancer that begins in the rectum is known as rectal cancer. The majority of colorectal cancers generally develop from adenomatous (precancerous) polyps. Some risk factors for colon cancer include a family history of colon or rectal cancer, diet, alcohol use, smoking, and ulcerative colitis.
Symptoms and causes:
How does colorectal cancer develop?
Fortunately, most colorectal cancers begin as small polyps (polyps) that are benign but may be precancerous (adenocarcinoma or dentate). These benign polyps usually grow slowly and do not cause symptoms until they become large or affect other organs such as the liver and lung.
What if I suffer from benign tumors?
There are a variety of colorectal polyps, but colon cancer is believed to arise primarily from specific types such as adenomatous and dentate polyps, which are considered precancerous polyps. If a malignancy is found during a colonoscopy, it is usually removed, if possible. The excised polyps are also examined during a histological colonoscopy for evaluation and to determine whether they contain cancerous or precancerous cells. Depending on the number, size, and type of cancerous polyps found during a colonoscopy, your doctor will recommend a future colonoscopy for observation.
What are the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Unfortunately, some colorectal cancers may exist without any signs or symptoms. For this reason, it is very important to have regular colon and rectal exams (tests) to catch problems early. Common signs of colorectal cancer include:
- Change in bowel habits: Constipation, diarrhea, incomplete bowel movements, and bowel incontinence - these are considered to be less serious - can be other symptoms of colorectal cancer.
- Blood on the stool or in the stool: One of the most obvious and important signs, blood on the stool or in the stool can be linked to colorectal cancer. However, it does not necessarily indicate cancer, as many other diseases can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. In addition, iron and some foods, such as Beets can give stool a black or red appearance, which falsely indicates the presence of blood in the stool. However, if you notice blood in or on top of your stool, see your doctor to have the condition checked.
- unexplained anemia
- Abdominal or pelvic pain or bloating
- Unexplained weight loss
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor for evaluation. Early detection is an irreplaceable opportunity for a colon cancer patient.
Diagnostics and tests for colorectal cancer
When should colon cancer screening begin?
The US Cancer Society recommends that people at high risk of developing colorectal cancer begin regular screening at age 45. The latest study suggests that regular screening for individuals with risk factors should be done early if you have a personal or family history of colon polyps, cancer, or bowel disease. For inflammatory conditions, screening may be required before the age of 45. Both men and women should be screened because colon polyps and cancer affect both sexes.
What if I have a family history of colorectal cancer?
Your doctor may recommend early screening for colorectal cancer if you have a family history of the condition.
Some studies have found that having a first-degree relative with colon cancer puts you at two to three times greater risk than someone who does not have a first-degree relative with colorectal cancer. A first-degree relative is defined as your mother, father, brother or sister, and child. The risks can also be higher if you have other people in your family who have had colon cancer, even if they are not first-degree relatives. They can be grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and even grandchildren. Only 10% to 30% of people with the disease have a family history of the disease.
What are the tests to detect colorectal cancer?
Several tests are used to screen for colorectal cancer. Although colonoscopy is often recommended, other options are available. These are the most common screening tests:
Stool immunohistochemical test (FIT): This test looks for blood in the stool that cannot be easily seen with the naked eye. This test can be done at home by collecting stool in tubes and studying it in a laboratory for any blood.
Fecal occult blood test (gFOBT): This test also looks for occult blood in the stool and is done in the same way. A chemical reaction is used to detect any occult blood. However, the occult blood test is unable to determine the location of the bleeding in the GI tract. Additional tests will be needed to determine the exact site of the bleeding.
Stool DNA testThe stool DNA test works by detecting cancerous genetic mutations in the stool tumor cells.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy: It is done with a device called a sigmoidoscope to see inside the rectum and descending colon. Unlike the instrument used during a colonoscopy, this device is not as long, which limits how much of the colon can be seen. During this procedure, the sigmoidoscope is inserted into the anus and upward through the rectum and sigmoid colon (the s-shaped part). Gas is pumped during the procedure to allow the doctor the best possible view, and it's often done without anesthesia. The bowel must be empty for this procedure - this is usually done with the help of a laxative or an enema before the test. Small benign polyps found during the procedure can be removed and checked for cancers. If these tests are positive, a colonoscopy will be performed.
colonoscopy: A colonoscopy is the best procedure to check for polyps or cancer in the colon and rectum. A colonoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor uses a long, flexible scope (called a colonoscope) to view the entire rectum and colon. During the procedure, polyps may be removed and lumps taken, if present, and sent for histological examination for signs of cancer.
The bowel must be emptied – using a laxative (“intestinal preparation”) – before the procedure begins. The patient is usually given an anesthetic for this procedure.
Double contrast (barium) enema: This is an X-ray examination of the colon and rectum in which barium is given as an enema (through the rectum). Air is then inflated into the rectum to widen the colon, producing an outline of the colon on an X-ray. Barium enema is not the most accurate method and is not the preferred procedure for screening for colorectal cancer. It also requires bowel preparation.
CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy): In this procedure, also known as CT colonoscopy or virtual colonoscopy, a CT scan (imaging created with X-rays) is done of the abdomen and pelvis after drinking a contrast medium. No anesthesia is needed for this test. Like a colonoscopy and a barium enema, the colon must be emptied prior to the examination. If a polyp is found, a colonoscopy should be performed.
How is colorectal cancer diagnosed?
For diagnosis, your doctor may order the following tests:
Blood tests (complete blood count, tumor markers, liver enzymes)
Imaging tests (X-ray, CT scan, MRI, PET scan, ultrasound, angiography)
Diagnostic colonoscopy is the first and best option (performed after symptoms appear, not as a routine screening test)
colon cancer treatment
What are the stages of colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is clinically described by the stages in which it is detected. The different stages of colon and rectal cancer are determined by the depth of invasion of the intestinal wall, lymph node involvement, and spread to other organs (metastases). Healing is highly dependent on early detection.
What is chemotherapy for colorectal tumor?
Chemotherapy refers to drugs that kill cancer cells. These medications can be given intravenously by injection or a pump, or orally as a pill.
Chemotherapy is used in the following ways:
Either primary when colon cancer has already spread to other organs, such as the liver or lungs. In this case, because surgery usually doesn't eliminate the cancer, chemotherapy can shrink tumor nodules, relieve symptoms, and extend life.
Or it is given before surgery for some rectal cancers in order to shrink the tumor and allow the surgeon to better remove it. In this case, the patient usually receives radiotherapy with chemotherapy.
or adjuvant to kill any of these cancer cells remaining after surgery.
Newer treatments for colorectal cancer include monoclonal antibodies and immunotherapy.
Monoclonal antibodies are created in the lab to find and destroy a specific target - in this case - colon cancer cells. Because of its precision, the idea is that treating a tumor with a monoclonal antibody would be more specific than chemotherapy drugs, and therefore have fewer side effects.
Some monoclonal antibody drugs prevent tumors from growing the blood vessels needed for their survival, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a substance secreted by cancer to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. Interfering with the blood supply to the tumor may slow its growth. Others slow the growth of cancer by targeting a special receptor found on the surface of colon cancer cells. They are often used with or after other chemotherapy drugs for colon cancer that does not respond to other treatments.
What are the immunotherapies for colorectal cancer?
Immunomodulators is a modern method of treatment for colorectal cancer. The goal of immunotherapy is to enhance a patient's immune response to cancer cells to help them fight disease more effectively. There are two types of immunomodulators: active and passive. Active immunotherapy aims to stimulate the patient's immune system. The patient's antibodies (cells of the immune system) are made to recognize an abnormal component of the cancer cells and then selectively kill those cells. The vaccine is an example of an effective immunotherapy and is still being studied.
Passive immunotherapy products are manufactured in a laboratory to mimic the body's antibodies. Passive immunotherapy drugs do not stimulate patients' immune systems to fight disease. Instead, these human-made antibodies target specific components of colorectal cancer cells to prevent the cancer cells from escaping the body's normal immune response.
What are the side effects of chemotherapy and immunotherapy?
The side effects of conventional chemotherapy depend on the drug, its dose, how long it is taken, and the patient. Because conventional chemotherapy drugs target rapidly dividing cancer cells, they also kill other healthy, rapidly dividing cells in the lining of the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, hair follicles, and bone marrow. The side effects of chemotherapy come from damage to these normal cells.
Side effects of conventional chemotherapy drugs can include:
Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss, mouth sores, rash, diarrhea, easy infection and bleeding, fatigue due to anemia.
Although it may take some time, most side effects related to these medications will go away when they are stopped.
The side effects of monoclonal antibodies depend on the medication. Many of these side effects are similar to those of traditional chemotherapy.
Ask your doctor about the side effects of any medications before you start taking them. If you experience any side effects, tell your doctor. In many cases, these side effects can be relieved through medication or diet changes.
Colon cancer prevention
Who is at risk of developing colorectal cancer?
Each of us is at risk of colon cancer Although the exact cause of the development of precancerous colon polyps that lead to colorectal cancer is not known, there are some factors that increase a person's risk of developing colorectal polyps and cancer. These risk factors are:
Age: The risk of developing colon tumors and cancer increases as we age. Colon cancer is more common in people over the age of 50, however, younger adults can also develop colon cancer.
Other medical conditions: Medical conditions (type 2 diabetes, previous history of cancer, history of inflammatory bowel disease) and genetic conditions (Lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis) can increase your chances of developing colon cancer.
Lifestyle: You may be at increased risk of colon cancer if you drink alcohol, use tobacco, do not get enough exercise, and/or are overweight.
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To find out more about Colon cancer from webmd