Colorectal cancer among top 10 cancers in India
Malignancy in any part of the colon or rectum (large intestine) is termed as colorectal cancer (CRC). Most often, it spreads to the liver and sometimes to the lungs, bones, or other organs.
Colorectal cancer is among the top 10 cancers in India. It is more common in developed nations, but there has also been an increase in cases in developing nations.
The symptoms of colorectal cancer are a change in bowel habits (diarrhoea or constipation), blood and mucus in stools, and sudden weight loss.
Those older than 50 years of age are at a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer. Those with a family history of colorectal cancer, or those who have suffered from diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis should also be careful. Consumption of less fibre and excess red meat, tobacco and alcohol is equally dangerous.
The screening tests for detecting CRC are stool for occult blood and digital rectal examination; colonoscopy endoscopy and biopsy are used to confirm diagnosis, which is followed by the staging of the disease and deciding on the treatment plan.
Screening colonoscopy is required for high-risk patients. A colonoscopy or proctoscopy is needed to check the colon and rectal areas, respectively, for any abnormality. Simultaneously, tissue samples are taken for biopsy.
A CT scan or PET-CT scan and blood tests such as serum CEA or CA-19-9, CBC, LFT and KFT are required to assess the stage of the cancer and general well-being of the person.
The treatment options are surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy. The factors that determine the outcome of the treatment are age, stage, co-morbidities, left v/s right colon, and certain genetic changes (like RAS mutation). The good news is that with biomarker testing, personalized treatment and correct treatment regimens, the survival rates in metastatic CRC are increasing.
Know more here.
This article has been written by Dr. Ajay Yadav, MD DM (Medical Oncology) AIIMS, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Sriram Cancer Centre, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Jaipur.