Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the colon, appendix, and rectum. It is also sometimes known as colon cancer or large bowel cancer. It is one of the most common forms or cancer worldwide, and tends to have a relatively high death rate. Colorectal cancers typically develop from mushroom-shaped growths, known as polyps, that occur in the colon. While polyps are usually benign, they can develop into cancers. They are usually found and diagnosed using a process known as a colonoscopy.
Colorectal cancer may be linked to familial experiences of cancer, but in most cases does not have any sort of genetic association. It can occur among both men and women, although men tend to be more commonly affected by colorectal cancer. There are, however, personal risk factors associated with colorectal cancer: these include the age of an individual, whether they suffer from irritable bowel disease, whether they are obese, and whether they smoke.
Commonly experienced symptoms of those experiencing colorectal cancer include diarrhoea, constipation, or difficulty going to the bathroom, watery bowel movements, bloating and cramping in the abdominal area, and blood in one’s stool. There are also more general symptoms that can be a sign of colorectal cancer, including anaemia, weight loss, and general tiredness.
Depending on the development of the tumour, colorectal cancers can be treated using nothing more than surgery. Surgical treatments are effective if the colorectal cancer has not spread beyond the wall of the colon. However, if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body such as the lymph nodes, then addition types of treatment such as chemotherapy tend to be used to treat the cancer. Once the cancer has metastasised (spread) to other areas of the body, it can be extremely difficult to treat, and is often considered incurable. In these instances, chemotherapy can be used to arrest the growth of the cancer, and may help extend the life of a patient.
The prognosis for colorectal cancer varies with the individual, as well as with the type and stage of the colorectal cancer that has been diagnosed. Those who are typically in good health, who eat a healthy diet that is high in fibre and includes plenty of vegetables, that are of a healthy weight, and that don’t smoke will have a great likelihood of colorectal cancer prevention, as well as recovery of colorectal cancer. For your interest, more information regarding alternative therapies for colorectal cancer can be found on this site.