Colorectal cancer is cancer affecting the cecum, rectum and the colon.
What are the risk factors for colorectal cancer?
- Personal history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
- A strong family history of the disease
- Inherited forms of colorectal polyps or cancer e.g. Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)
- Previous Colorectal, ovarian, endometrial or breast cancer
- Predisposing chronic digestive condition such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
- Age > 50
- Poor diet (increased fat, red meat and reduced fibre)
- Diabetes mellitus
- Exposure to radiation
What are the signs & symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Often asymptomatic; this is why screening for colorectal cancer is so important. When symptoms occur, they include:-
• New onset of abdominal pain
• Bleeding from the rectum
• Blood in or on the stool
• A change in stool caliber or shape
• A change in typical bowel habits, constipation, diarrhea
• Weakness, anemia, weight loss, palpable mass, obstruction
How is colorectal cancer diagnosed?
Diagnosis is through symptoms, screening and investigations. Early diagnosis results in better prognosis.
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE); most common exam
- Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
- Sigmoidoscopy and/or Colonoscopy
- Carcinogenic Embryonic Antigen (CEA)
- Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)
- X-ray and abdominal CT scan/ultrasound
- Laboratory: Complete Blood Count, urinalysis, liver function tests
What is the treatment for colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is managed through -Surgery