Colorectal cancer leading cause of death worldwide
Colorectal cancer is the cancer occurring in the large intestine and rectum. It is the leading cause of death in the world.
A change in your bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation, blood in stool, weakness and unexplained weight loss are the main symptoms.
Those older than 50 years of age stand a higher chance of developing colorectal cancer. A diet deficient in fibre and high on fat, alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, and genetic factors are the other risk factors.
You can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer by increasing physical activity, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco.
It is recommended that adults aged above 50 be screened for colorectal cancer. The screening tests include stool tests (fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test), CT colonography, colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy.
Colorectal cancer, when detected early, can be cured easily with surgery and chemotherapy. In the advanced stages, systemic chemotherapy can help reduce symptoms and prolong life meaningfully.
There are certain molecular tests like RAS mutation, BRAF mutation, and MSI, which help oncologists to choose more effective treatments. Newer therapies like immunotherapy and personalised targeted therapy are helpful in specific cases to improve the survival significantly even in incurable cases.
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This article has been written by Dr. Ankur Bahl, MD, DM (AIIMS), Sr. Consultant, Medical Oncology & Hematology, Cancer Specialist in Solid & Hematological Tumour, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket.