Colon cancer is an uncontrolled cell growth in either of the ascending, transverse or descending colons or the appendix (located close to the ascending colon) or rectum (located at the end of descending colon). Symptoms are usually bleeding, excruciating pain, difficulty in fecal movement, etc.
This type of cancer starts in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum (end of the colon). This cancer results from uncontrolled cell growth in the colon or rectum, or appendix.
Colon and rectal cancers typically develop slowly over many years, often starting as polyps. However, in certain people with genetic predisposition, these polyps can rapidly progress to cancer.
2: How can I lower my risk of developing colorectal cancer?
You can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, and undergoing appropriate screening for the disease.
3: How frequently should I undergo colorectal cancer screening?
The frequency of colorectal cancer screening depends on factors such as your age, family history, and other risk factors. It is recommended that individuals at average risk start screening at age 45. However, Indian guidelines recommend screening of at-risk populations, the frequency of which depends on the risk factor.
4: What is the recovery time after a colonoscopy?
The recovery time after a colonoscopy is typically short, with most people returning to normal within a day or two.
5: How does colorectal cancer affect the body?
Colorectal cancer can affect the body by spreading to other organs and tissues, leading to significant health issues. It can also cause changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and fatigue.
6: What distinguishes a colonoscopy from a stool test for colorectal cancer screening?
A colonoscopy is an invasive procedure that allows the specialist to examine the inside of the colon and rectum using a flexible scope. On the other hand, a stool test helps check for the presence of blood in the stool, which can be an early indication of colorectal cancer. The colonoscopy has a higher predictive value than the stool test and is hence preferred more commonly.
7: How is colon cancer detected?
Colon cancer is detected through a procedure called a colonoscopy, where a long, flexible tube attached to a camera is used to examine the colon and rectum. During the procedure, tissue samples (biopsies) may be taken for analysis and any suspicious areas or polyps can be removed.
8: How frequently should I undergo colon cancer screening?
For individuals without any risk factors, colon cancer screening is typically recommended every ten years. However, those with a family history or other risk factors may require more frequent screening.
9: Can colon cancer be cured?
In most cases, colon cancer can be successfully treated and cured, especially when it is detected early. The prognosis depends on factors such as the stage of cancer and the general health of the patient.
10: How can I reduce my risk of developing colon cancer?
It is important to maintain a healthy diet low in red meat and high in fibre, engage in regular physical activity, avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, and undergo regular screening tests to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
11: What is the survival rate for colon cancer?
The survival rate for colon cancer varies depending on several factors, including the stage of cancer, the overall health of the patient, and the type of treatment received.
FAQs Reviewed by Dr. Vivek Mangla, Director - Gastrointestinal and Hepatopancreatobiliary (GI & HPB) Surgical Oncology, Cancer Care / Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Gastrointestinal & Hepatobiliary Oncology, Gastro Intestinal & Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgical Oncology, Robotic Surgery on 26-Jun-2023.