Know More About Colorectal Cancer
Colon is a part of large intestine and the last part of the digestive tract. It generally affects the older adults but can also be observed among other age groups often. Initially, it emerges as non-cancerous polyp inside the organ. These small polyps can convert into the cancer cells. Cancer that develops in the rectum in termed rectal cancer. Often, they are termed colorectal cancer due to similar symptoms.
The colon is responsible for the absorption of essential salts and water from the food that passes through it. The waste material left in the body is stored in the rectum until it passes away through the anus.
The first reason remains to be the genetic mutations in the DNA. These lead to instructing the cells to multiple rapidly and uncontrollably. This leads to the formation of the mass or lumps. Often, the affected area may undergo swelling and the lump can be felt.
If anyone is suffering from Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), attenuated FAP (AFAP), Gardner syndrome, Lynch syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, or MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP), the risk of getting colorectal cancer is increased.
Types of polyps
The adenomas are often counted under the pre cancerous situation. Among these, tubular, villous, and tubulovillous are some types.
Hyperplastic polyps and inflammatory polyps
These are the common types of polyps and not precancerous. In case the polyp is more than 1cm in size, it is advised to screen it for the presence of cancer cells.
Sessile serrated polyps (SSP) and traditional serrated adenomas (TSA)
These are quite similar to adenomas and have high risk of developing cancer.
Types of Colorectal Cancer
The colorectal cancer can be of many types :
Most of the colorectal cancers fall under the category of adenomas.
The small intestine is equipped with some special hormone making cells. When tumours originate from here, it leads to development of carcinoid tumours.
Generally, the lymphomas develop in the lymph nodes but they can also form in the rectum or colon.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs)
The cancer cells form in the interstitial cells of Cajal. Some may not be cancerous. Their occurrence in the colon or rectum is rare.
These can emerge in connective tissues, blood vessels, or the muscle layers. These occur rarely in the form of colorectal cancers.
Stages of colorectal cancer
The stages of colorectal cancer are as follows:
The inner lining of the colon or rectum is filled with cells turn abnormal. It is also termed carcinoma in situ stage.
The cancer cells at this stage may penetrate the mucosa or the muscle layer.
The tumours starts to spread through the walls of rectum and colon but doesn’t reach to lymph nodes yet.
At this stage, the tumours have spread to the lymph nodes but not the other body parts.
The cancer cells spread to the other body organs like liver or lungs.
Signs and Symptoms
Some categories of colorectal cancer might be unidentified and may not appear early.
- Deviations from regular bowel habits like diarrhea, incomplete evacuation, constipation, bowel incontinence, and narrowing of the stools.
- Blood in the stool may or may not be an indicative of the colorectal cancer. Bleeding can also be caused by anal fissures, hemorrhoids, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
- The shortage of red blood cells leading to tiredness, and issues like vomiting, unexplained weight loss, and bloating are often experienced.
The tests performed for detecting colorectal cancer are:
Faecal Immunochemical test
This test is done to predict the presence of blood in the stools that might not be detected visually. These are then analysed in the laboratory.
Guaiac-based faecal occult blood test (gFOBT)
This test is also done to look for hidden blood in the stools with the help of a chemical screening.
A sigmoidoscope is used to look inside the rectum and sigmoid colon. It is inserted through the anus and often the gas is pumped to get clear vision of the area. If any polyps are found during the procedure, they are removed by the doctor.
It is one of the most effective procedures to look for any polyps or signs of cancer. Usually, the patient is treated with a sedative.
Faecal DNA Test
This test is performed to look for any genetic mutations or blood in the stool. The cells lining the colon are checked for the abnormalities if any.
Here, a virtual image is taken through CT scan prior which a contrast dye is has to be consumed. During this procedure, sedation is not required.
Double contrast barium enema
it refers to conducting an X-ray examination of the rectum and colon. A bowel preparation is required before the commencement of the test. The air is blown inside to get better pictures of the area.
The blood tests are performed to know about the levels of enzymes, complete blood count, and tumour markers.
The biopsy is performed to collect the sample of cells and tissues. It is then analysed in the laboratory to detect the presence of cancer cells.
Side effects of such procedures
Partial colectomy can lead to:
- Blood clots in lungs and legs
- Injury to organs like bladder, colon, and small intestine
- Bleeding issues
- Tears in the sutures in other parts of digestive system
- Bowel problems like diarrhea, constipation, or excessive gas formation
Chemotherapy can lead to
- Low levels of red blood cells
- Appetite changes
- Easy bruising or bleeding
Radiotherapy can cause
- Issues while concentration
- Changes in skin
- Blurred vision
- Hair loss
Targeted drug therapy may lead to
- Nail changes
- Mouth sores
- Loss of hair colour
- High blood pressure
- Issues with wound healing and blood clotting
- Rash or dry skin
The treatments that are performed to treat the colorectal cancer are:
In case of chemotherapy, the chemicals are taken in combination and given through an IV to target the cancer cells and kill them. The chemicals destroy the tumours as much as possible.
The radiation in the form of protons or X-rays are used to target the cells and destroy them.
Immunotherapy is used to strengthen the immune cells that help fight the infections. The therapy lets the body identify the abnormal cells and destroy them. In the case of passive immunotherapy, the man made antibodies are used to target the tumour cells.
During this procedure, the polyps are removed from the body by making small incisions in the abdomen. The instruments are inserted with a camera attached to them that provides images on the video monitor. It helps the doctors to facilitate easy removal.
During your procedure, the doctor removes the part of colon that has been affected by the cancer cells. Some amount of normal tissue surrounding it is also removed during the surgery.
Surgery for advanced cancer
In the cases of advanced cancer, the surgery is done to ease the symptoms and relieve the blockage of your colon. Chemotherapy may be used before or after this treatment.
Targeted Drug Therapy
The targeted drug therapy focuses on the certain abnormalities that are present in the cancer cells. These abnormalities are blocked by the treatment and can cause tumour cells to die.
Why should you chose Ayurveda?
The Ayurvedic doctors are highly trained, professional, and knowledgeable of the old traditional methods of treating mankind. It believes in therapies like Dhoomapana, Basti, Cupping therapy, Griva Vasti, Gandusha, and others. Ayurveda is a perfect choice for the patients as it goes well in harmony with modern forms of medicine. The use of herbal medicines, massage therapy, and dietary changes play a crucial role in boosting an individual’s immunity in the body.
It focuses on three major energy principles, that is, Vata (energy of movement). Pitta (energy of metabolism/digestion), and Kapha (energy of structure and lubrication). It promotes following a healthy lifestyle through right and balanced diet, use of natural herbs in situations of stress, and maintaining a balance between body, mind, and spirit. The treatments are affordable and effective that ensure long-lasting relief and comfort from the diseases. The nature-based therapies are something that plays a great role in soothing the body and curing issues.