What is colorectal cancer :- 4 types , causes , signs and sypmtoms

The first question in our mind that What is colorectal cancer? so colorectal cancer is among the top five most common cancers which are found worldwide. when we check the ratio between males and females of this cancer then always it has been found more in male patients. Its symptoms are challenging to find which is why most of the cases go undiagnosed.

What is colorectal cancer:-

Colorectal cancer is when there’s a bad kind of growth in the large intestine. It can be called bowel, colon, or rectal cancer, depending on where exactly it is. This type of cancer affects the lower part of the digestive system, which includes the colon and rectum. Spotting the symptoms of this cancer is tricky, especially before it reaches the second stage.

What is colorectal cancer

Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer:-

There are two types of risk factors:

  1. Factors You Can’t Change: Some things are beyond your control, like:
    • Being 50 years or older
    • Having genetic syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis
    • Developing colon polyps
    • Having bowel diseases
  2. Factors You Can Change: You have the power to lower your risk through a healthy lifestyle. Things you can work on include:
    • Being less sedentary
    • Eating in moderation
    • Maintaining a healthy weight
    • Cutting down on smoking
    • Drinking in moderation
    • Managing diabetes well
    • Avoiding processed meals for extended periods

Types of Colorectal Cancer:-

Colorectal cancer comes in different types depending on where the harmful cells grow:

  1. Adenocarcinomas:
    • This is the most common type, making up 90% of colorectal cancer.
    • It affects cells in the rectum that make mucus.
  2. Sarcomas:
    • These cancers form in the soft tissues or muscles of the colon.
  3. Lymphomas:
    • This type of cancer happens in the lymph nodes of the colon.
  4. Carcinoids:
    • Found in the hormone-making cells of the large intestine.
What is colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer symptoms:-

Colorectal cancer shows certain symptoms, including:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Feeling bloated
  • Gas
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Urgency to use the bathroom even after going
  • Narrow or loose stool
  • Blood in stool
  • Changes in stool consistency
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Occasional diarrhea

Spotting these signs early is tough, but they become more noticeable as the cancer advances.

Colorectal cancer causes:-

One major cause of colorectal cancer is genetic mutation, where changes in genes can lead to the growth of benign polyps. These abnormal cell growths may spread to other parts of the body through the lymph system and blood. Some common reasons for colorectal cancer include:

  1. Polyps:
    • Two types, adenomas and hyperplastic, are associated with colorectal cancer.
  2. Genetic Mutation:
    • Inherited predisposition from family members, with risk factors like familial adenomatous polyposis, Gardner syndrome, Lynch syndrome, juvenile polyposis syndrome, peutz–jeghers syndrome, and Turcot syndrome.
  3. Traits:
    • Age, dietary habits, and lifestyle are also important factors.
  4. Health Conditions:
    • Prolonged diabetes, radiation therapy, inflammatory bowel diseases, ulcerative colitis, and acromegaly can contribute to colorectal cancer.
What is colorectal cancer

Stages of colorectal cancer:-

Colorectal cancer has four main stages that show how much it has spread:

Stages of Cancer:

  1. Stage 0 or Carcinoma In Situ:
    • Cancer cells are only in the inner lining of the colon.
  2. Stage 1:
    • Cancer reaches the muscular layer of the colon.
  3. Stage 2:
    • It spreads to the walls of the colon and nearby tissues.
  4. Stage 3:
    • Cancer goes to the lymph nodes.
  5. Stage 4:
    • In the advanced stage, cancer has spread to faraway organs like the liver and kidney.

In the early stages, colorectal cancer might not show clear signs. But as it goes through these stages, the cancer cells can reach other parts of the body.

Colorectal cancer treatment:-

Colorectal cancer treatment is tailored to each person, considering their health, age, and how advanced the cancer is. The main goals are to stop the cancer from spreading, remove cancerous cells, and start treatment quickly.

Different Treatments:

  1. Surgery:
    • Removes the part of the colon with cancer or the whole colon.
    • In some cases, a stoma (opening) is made for waste to pass through.
    • Types include Colostomy, Endoscopy, Laparoscopy, and Palliative surgery for advanced cases.
  2. Radiation Therapy:
    • A seed with radioactive material emits radiation to shrink or kill cancer cells.
    • Used in early-stage colorectal cancer.
  3. Chemotherapy:
    • Medicines stop cancer cell growth by binding to DNA proteins.
    • Can affect cells throughout the body and has side effects.
    • Common drugs include Capecitabine, Oxaliplatin, Irinotecan, and Fluorouracil.
  4. Drug Therapy:
    • FDA-approved drugs for immunotherapy and targeted therapies.
    • Includes Ramucirumab, Ziv-Aflibercept, Panitumumab, Pembrolizumab, Nivolumab, Ipilimumab, Bevacizumab, Cetuximab, and Regorafenib.

The cost of colorectal cancer treatment can vary. Chemotherapy may have intervals to manage side effects, and newer drug therapies provide more options for specific cases.

Colorectal cancer prevention:-

Preventing colorectal cancer can be tough if it’s caused by genetics, but you can control lifestyle factors to reduce the risk. Maintain a healthy weight, avoid overeating, say no to processed meat, and manage habits like smoking and excessive drinking.

Colorectal cancer is identified through tests like colonoscopy and double-contrast barium enema. Even though symptoms may not be clear at first, there are warning signs. If there’s a family history or you notice any red flags, it’s smart to consult a doctor for screening. Remember, being cautious and leading a healthy life is better than dealing with a cure later on.


Q1:- What is the life expectancy for someone with colorectal cancer?
Ans:- If the cancer is confined to the colon and treated, there is a 90% chance of recovery. With proper treatment, survival for 5 years or more is possible.
Q2:- How is colorectal cancer diagnosed by doctors?

Ans:- The physician performs a colonoscopy to inspect the large intestine, including the colon and rectum, to identify colorectal cancer.

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