Cancer of the colon and rectum is the third most common cancer in men and second in women worldwide, constituting 10% of all cancers. The incidence of colorectal cancer in India is low compared to western countries at 4 per lakh population however with rapid urbanization the incidence is rising.
Common Symptoms of Colon and Rectal cancer
- Blood in stools
- Change in bowel habits
- Loss of weight
- Weakness / Tiredness
- Abdominal pain, constipation, distension
Risk factors for Colon and Rectal cancer
- Age > 50 years
- Close family member (parent, brother, sister or child) had cancer of the colon or rectum
- Previously had polyps (growths) in colon or rectum
- IBD - Ulcerative colitis / Crohn’s disease over several years.
The diagnosis is made by digital rectal examination or colonoscopy and biopsy. Accurate staging of the disease to determine extent and spread is performed using CT scan, endoscopic ultrasound, MRI and PET CT.
Surgery done early is the only means of complete cure. If the disease is limited to the bowel wall without spread nearly 80-90% will be cured. Once the disease has spread beyond the wall of the intestine , involving nearby structures, lymph nodes, etc., the survival over 5 years drops to 50%.
The standard of care worldwide is Laparoscopic removal of the colonic or rectal cancer. The Department of Minimal Invasive Surgery at A.V.Hospital routinely performs Laparoscopic resection of colorectal cancers.