What is colorectal cancer? Colorectal cancer is also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer or rectal cancer. It is a type of cancer that mainly affects the colon and rectum. Due to unhealthy living conditions, the number of people suffering from colorectal cancer is increasing every year.
“What is colorectal cancer?” It is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second-leading cancer-related deaths. Although mortality rates are falling with the advent of new treatments, colorectal cancer remains a significant threat.
What is Colorectal Cancer? What are the Symptoms?
Colorectal cancer usually does not cause symptoms in the early stages. When symptomatic, the following may be observed:
- Changes in bowel habits (such as diarrhea or constipation)
- A feeling that the bowels are not emptying properly
- Bright red blood flowing from the rectum
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Blood in stool
- Constant feeling of fullness
- Weight loss
The symptoms of colorectal cancer are similar to those of many other diseases. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor even in the slightest doubt. For example, colorectal cancer screening should be done when anemia is detected. In this way, early diagnosis may be possible.
What Are the Stages of Colorectal Cancer?
In cancers, the term “stage” is used to describe how far the disease has spread. Determining the stage also helps specialist doctors choose the most appropriate treatment. Although different staging methods exist, the following are common.
- Stage 0: At this stage, the cancer is only in the inner layer of the colon or rectum. This stage is also called carcinoma in situ.
- Stage 1: The cancer has grown through the inner layer of the colon or rectum, but has not reached the outside of the colon or rectum.
- Stage 2: At this stage, the cancer has grown along the wall of the colon or rectum, but has not reached the lymph nodes.
- Stage 3: The cancer has reached the lymph nodes but no other parts of the body.
- Stage 4: The cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs.
Can Colorectal Cancer Be Detected Early?
Although it is not always possible to avoid colorectal cancer, there are some points to consider. Cancer screenings are essential for early detection. Those with a family history of colorectal cancer, over the age of 45, Crohn’s disease, Lynch syndrome, or adenomatous polyposis should have a stool test every two years and a colonoscopy every ten years.