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Dr. G. Vamshi Krishna Reddy

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. Although it is more common in developed nations, it is increasing in developing nations too. The symptoms are blood and mucus in stools, altered bowel habits, and sudden weight loss.

The risk factors are advancing age (50 years and above), a family history of colorectal cancer, diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, a diet low on fibre and high on red meat, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

The screening tests for detecting CRC are stool for occult blood, digital rectal examination, and colonoscopy.

The treatment options are surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. The factors that determine the outcome of treatment are age, stage, co-morbidities, left vs right colon, and certain genetic changes (like RAS mutation).

The good news is that with biomarker testing and personalized treatment methods, the survival rates in metastatic CRC have improved.


This article has been written by Dr G. Vamshi Krishna Reddy, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Yashoda Hospital, Malakpet, Hyderabad.