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Dr. Gaurang Modi

The large intestine of the human body consists of the colon and the rectum. Cancer in this part is collectively called colorectal cancer. It is one of the most common cancers, both in India and abroad.

Symptoms

  1. Prolonged constipation or diarrhea
  2. Weakness or fatigue
  3. Unexplained weight loss or low hemoglobin
  4. Rectal bleeding or blood in stools
  5. A feeling that bowel doesn’t empty completely

The cancer can be diagnosed by colonoscopy or proctoscopy-guided biopsy from tumor growth/ulcer.

The treatment methods include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, depending on the stage and location of the tumor. A patient can be cured of the cancer if it is detected at an early stage.

The mainstay of treatment in recurrent or advanced stages is mainly chemotherapy. Biologic therapy like cetuximab may be added to chemotherapy after a certain biomarker testing. New oral drug like regorafenib can be used in relapsed settings.

Immunotherapy is a part of biologic therapy that boosts the body's natural defenses to fight cancer. Biologic drugs are costly, but they have fewer side effects compared to chemotherapy.

This article has been written by Dr. Gaurang Modi, MD & DM – Medical Oncology, Genome Onco Hemato- Centre, Ahmedabad.