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Dr. Sachin Gupta

Colorectal cancer is a cancer affecting the large intestine and rectum. Most of the leading cancer centres in India have noted an increase in the prevalence of this disease in recent years.

Colorectal cancer usually presents as a growth, like a polyp within the lumen of the colon, and can spread through lymphatics or the blood stream. The commonest symptoms are blood in stools, rectal bleeding, altered bowel habits, and pain in abdomen.

Common risk factors include advancing age, positive family history, inflammatory bowel disease, low-fibre diet, and consumption of excessive red meat, tobacco, and alcohol.

Early-stage colon cancer is curable with surgery only. Stage III needs surgery, followed by chemotherapy, which lasts for around six months.

Patients diagnosed with the disease at an advanced stage are treated with chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy has improved the prognosis of stage-IV colon cancer patients. Immunotherapy drugs can also be used in such cases.

This article has been authored by Dr. Sachin Gupta, Consultant Medical Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Mohali.