by Marshaneil Soumi D’ Rozario | 09th October, 2018
Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. These cancers can also be named colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start. Most colorectal cancers start as a growth on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These growths are called polyps. Some types of polyps can change into cancer over time (usually many years), but not all polyps become cancer. Colorectal cancer can occur at any age but it is mostly diagnosed in those over 50 years old. If detected early, it can be prevented or effectively treated. Nowadays more and more young people are affected by colorectal cancer and also when diagnosed cancer seems to be in a more aggressive state. It can be fatal if not diagnosed early and can spread to different organs like any other type of Cancer.
Colorectal cancer most often begins as a polyp, a noncancerous growth that may develop on the inner wall of the colon or rectum as people get older. If not treated or removed, a polyp can become a potentially life-threatening cancer. Recognizing and removing precancerous polyps can prevent colorectal cancer. Dr. Deepak Subramanian, Consultant General, Laparoscopic & Bariatric Surgeon, Fortis Malar Hospital shares his insights below
1. How does colorectal cancer start?
Generally, multiple reasons lead to colorectal cancer. It is more common in the western part of the world, now it is getting common in our side of the world too. Dietary factors, excessive red meat consumption, family history are prone to colorectal cancer. It starts as a small atom and broadens into cancer.
2. What is the general age group that gets affected by colorectal cancer?
It was previously believed that colorectal cancer mostly affects the elderly group. The 45 +to 50 yrs is susceptible to colorectal cancer but today more younger patients even at age of 25yrs are affected.
3. Reason for more and more younger generation being affected by colorectal cancer?
We need to go back to the source responsible for the development of colorectal cancer. It has to do with the dietary regime changing around the world. Western food habits are influencing our diet. Consumption of excessive red meat is the reason why the younger generation is developing these genes. The focus should be given to a family history. If a person in a family has a past history of colorectal cancer, it is imperative for the younger generation to undergo a screening test. Lack of knowledge can also lead to such developments.
4. What are the preventative measures that the younger generation should take?
A good type of diet is advisable. Consuming adequate water and fiber in abundance, to avoid constipation is desired. If they have a family history it is mandatory to have a screening to find out if there is any premalignant condition in the colon, which may turn into cancer later.
5. What kind of treatment is provided once the cancer is detected?
At the initial stage biopsy of the tissue is conducted to diagnose cancer. A multidisciplinary team of colorectal surgeon, oncologist and the physicians along with the family discuss the treatment regime. Generally, it is a combination of surgery, plus and minus of chemotherapy, radiation needs to be given before surgery. Sometimes chemotherapy is not required.
6. Can be inherited cancer show up at a much younger age?
If a family has such a history they should go for a screening test through colonoscopy, stool test. As they have a tendency in developing this problem. Nowadays, 25 to 30 yrs are also getting affected by colorectal cancer.
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