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Dr. Varun Rajan

Colorectal cancer is a cancer affecting the large intestine and rectum. Globally, it is the 3rd most common cancer in men and 2nd most in women. The incidence of this disease in our country is alarmingly rising.

It 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 the abdomen.

The risk factors for developing colon cancer are advancing age, a low-fibre diet, red meat consumption, obesity, intake of tobacco and alcohol, inflammatory bowel disease, and a positive family history.

In a majority of cases, early-stage cancers can get cured through surgery alone. Therefore, prevention and early detection is important. Stage-III cancers need surgery, followed by chemotherapy, which lasts for around 3-6 months.

Patients diagnosed with the disease in Stage-IV can also be cured. In addition to chemotherapy, new treatment options such as targeted therapy and immunotherapy significantly help in improving survival rates.

#It’sNeverTooLate

This article has been written by Dr.Varun Rajan, MD, DM, ECMO, Consultant- Medical Oncology, Medical Trust Hospital, Kochi.