Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer or rectal cancer, is a type of cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. The colon and rectum are part of the digestive system and are located in the lower part of the digestive tract. The colon is the large intestine, which absorbs water and nutrients from food. The rectum is the end of the large intestine, which stores waste before it is eliminated from the body. Colorectal cancer can start as a growth, called a polyp, in the lining of the colon or rectum and may develop into cancer over time. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, accounting for approximately 10% of all cancer cases. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 149,500 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2021. Colorectal cancer can often be cured if detected early through screening tests.
- Age The risk of colorectal cancer increases with age, with most cases occurring in individuals over the age of 50.
- Family history Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps are at an increased risk of developing the disease themselves.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Individuals with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, which are types of IBD, have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps are at an increased risk of developing the disease themselves.
- Certain genetic syndromes Inherited genetic syndromes, such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), can increase an individual's risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Sedentary lifestyle Lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Diet A diet high in red and processed meats, and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Diabetes People with diabetes may have an increased risk of colon cancer.
It's important for individuals with these risk factors to talk with their healthcare provider about their risk for colorectal cancer and to discuss appropriate screening tests and other preventive measures.
- Colonoscopy his is a procedure in which a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the rectum and guided through the colon to look for polyps or cancer.
- Sigmoidoscopy This is a procedure similar to a colonoscopy, but only the lower part of the colon is examined.
- Biopsy በDRE ወይም PSA ምርመራ ወቅት ያልተለመዱ ነገሮች ከተገኙ ባዮፕሲ ሊመከር ይችላል። በዚህ ሂደት ውስጥ ለምርመራ የሚሆን ከፕሮስቴት እጢ ውስጥ ትንሽ ቲሹ ይወጣል፡፡
- Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) This is a test that checks for blood in the stool, which may be a sign of colorectal cancer.
- Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) This is a newer type of stool test that checks for blood in the stool.
- Imaging tests such as CT scans, MRI scans, or PET scans, may be used to help diagnose colorectal cancer and determine the stage of the disease.
Staging for colorectal cancer
The treatment of colorectal cancer depends on several factors, including the stage and location of the cancer, the individual's overall health, and their personal preferences. Treatment options may include
- Surgery Surgery is the most common treatment for colorectal cancer. The goal of surgery is to remove the cancerous tumor and any surrounding tissue that may contain cancer cells. Depending on the location and size of the tumor, different types of surgery may be performed, such as a colectomy, proctectomy, or APR (abdominoperineal resection).
- Radiation therapy Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation to kill cancer cells. It may be used before or after surgery to shrink the tumor or to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be given before or after surgery, or in combination with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy can be administered orally or intravenously.
- Targeted therapy Targeted therapy drugs target specific molecules that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. These drugs can be given orally or intravenously.
- Immunotherapy Drug help the body's immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be given orally or intravenously.
- Clinical trials Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments or combinations of treatments. Participation in a clinical trial may be an option for some individuals with colorectal cancer.
It's important to note that not all individuals with colorectal cancer will require all of these treatments. Treatment plans are individualized based on the specific needs of each person. The healthcare team will work with the individual to determine the best treatment plan for them.