Colorectal Cancer: Causes, Signs and symptoms and Remedies

MNT Knowledge Center

Colorectal cancer, also referred to as bowel cancer, cancer of the colon or rectal cancer, is any cancer (a rise, lump, tumor) from the colon and also the rectum. The Planet Health Organization and CDC say it’s the second most typical cancer worldwide, after cancer of the lung.

The American Cancer Society indicates that about one in 20 people in america will build up colorectal cancer throughout their lifetime, using the risk being slightly greater for males compared to women. Because of advances in screening techniques and enhancements in remedies, the dying rate from colorectal cancer continues to be shedding for more than two decades.

A colorectal cancer might be benign or malignant. Benign means the tumor won’t spread, while a malignant tumor includes cells that may spread with other areas of the body and damage them.

The colon and rectum

Anatomy of the large intestine

The colon can also be known as the colon or large bowel.

The colon and rectum fit in with our digestive tract – together they’re also referred to as large bowel.

The colon reabsorbs large amounts water and nutrients from undigested food items because they pass on it.

The rectum reaches the finish from the colon and stores feces (stools, waste materials) prior to being eliminated in the body.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer

  • Going to the toilet more often.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • A feeling that the bowel does not empty properly after a bowel movement.
  • Blood in feces (stools).
  • Pains in the abdomen.
  • Bloating in the abdomen.
  • A feeling of fullness in the abdomen (maybe even after not eating for a while).
  • Vomiting.
  • Fatigue (tiredness).
  • Inexplicable weight loss.
  • A lump in the tummy or a lump in the back passage felt by your doctor.
  • Unexplained iron deficiency in men, or in women after the menopause.

As the majority of these signs and symptoms might also indicate other possible conditions, it is crucial that the individual sees a physician for any proper diagnosis. Anyone who encounters a few of these signs and symptoms for four days should see their physician.

Causes of colorectal cancer

Experts say we are not completely sure why colorectal cancer develops in some people and not in others. However, several risk factors have been identified over the years – a risk factor is something which may increase a person’s chances of developing a disease or condition.

The possible risk factors for colorectal factors are:

  • Being elderly – the older you are the higher the risk is.
  • A diet that is very high in animal protein.
  • A diet that is very high in saturated fats.
  • A diet that is very low in dietary fiber.
  • A diet that is very high in calories.
  • A diet that is very high in alcohol consumption.
  • Women who have had breast, ovary and uterus cancers.
  • A family history of colorectal cancer.
  • Patients with ulcerative colitis.
  • Being overweight/obese.
  • Smoking. This study found that smoking is significantly associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer and death.
  • Being physically inactive.
  • Presence of polyps in the colon/rectum. Untreated polyps may eventually become cancerous.
  • Having Crohn’s disease or Irritable Bowel Disease have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Most colon cancers develop within polyps (adenoma). These are often found inside the bowel wall.

Recent developments on colorectal cancer causes from MNT news

Being very obese or overweight at the end of teens may raise later-existence colorectal cancer risk

Men that are extremely obese or overweight during late adolescence might be greater than two times as prone to develop colorectal cancer by mid-life. This really is according to a different study printed in Stomach – a journal from the BMJ.

Eating processed meat may cause colorectal cancer, WHO

Eating processed meat may cause colorectal cancer, concludes a brand new report in the World Health Organization, while eating red meat might also raise risk for that disease.

Tumor suppressor gene promotes some colorectal cancers

Sprouty2, a gene recognized to stop growths distributing with other areas of the body in various kinds of cancer, seems to experience the alternative role in certain types of colorectal cancer.

It was the finding of the study printed within the journal Oncogene and brought through the College of Missouri Med school in Columbia, which might spur new remedies for colorectal cancer.

How weight problems promotes colorectal cancer

Researchers have revealed a biological link between weight problems and colorectal cancer, and they’ve recognized an authorized drug that may avoid the cancer from developing. The findings are printed in Cancer Research.

How common is colorectal cancer?

Diagram of colon cancer

Based on WHO (World Health Organization) colorectal cancer may be the second most typical tumor among both women and men (after lung growths).

Roughly 2% well over 50-year-olds will ultimately develop colorectal cancer in The European Union.

40% of people that are identified with colorectal cancer happen to be in an advanced stage from the cancer. Of these patients surgical treatment is most likely probably the most likely option.

Colorectal cancer has a tendency to affect women and men equally. However, men have a tendency to develop it in a more youthful age.

On the next page we look at tests and diagnosis for colorectal cancer, how it can be prevented and the available treatments for colorectal cancer.


MNT Knowledge Center

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Tests and Diagnosis for colorectal cancer

Screening can detect polyps before they become cancerous, as well as detecting colon cancer during its early stages when the chances of a cure are much higher. The following are the most common screening and diagnostic procedures for colorectal cancer:

Fecal occult blood test (blood stool test)

This inspections an example from the patient’s stool (feces) for the existence of bloodstream. You can do this in the GP’s (general practitioner’s, primary care physician’s) office. However, most sufferers receive a package that describes how to get the sample in your own home. The individual then returns the sample towards the doctor’s office, which is delivered to a laboratory.

A bloodstream stool test isn’t 100% accurate – may possibly not identify all cancers because not every one of them bleed. Even cancers which do bleed frequently don’t achieve this constantly. Therefore, it’s possible that the patient includes a negative result, despite the fact that he/she’s cancer. Even when bloodstream is detected, this can be brought on by other illnesses or conditions, for example piles. Some meals might point to bloodstream within the colon, while in fact, none was present.

Stool DNA test

This test evaluates several DNA markers that colon cancers or precancerous polyps cells shed in to the stool. Patients may obtain a package with instructions regarding how to collect excrement sample in your own home. This needs to be introduced to the physician’s office, and it is then delivered to a laboratory.

This test is a lot more accurate for discovering cancer of the colon than polyps. However, it can’t identify all DNA mutations which might indicate that the tumor exists.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

The physician utilizes a sigmoidoscope, an adaptable, slender and lighted tube, to look at a person’s rectum and sigmoid (the sigmoid colon is all of the the colon, prior to the rectum). The exam doesn’t generally take greater than a couple of minutes and isn’t painful but will be uncomfortable. There’s a little chance of perforation from the colon wall. When the physician detects a polyps or cancer of the colon he/she’ll then keep on a colonoscopy to look at the whole colon and remove any polyps which are present – they’ll then be examined within microscope.

A sigmoidoscopy is only going to identify polyps or cancer present in the finish third from the colon and also the rectum. Should there be any in almost any other areas from the digestive system it won’t identify them.

Barium enema X-ray

Barium is really a contrast dye that’s put into a person’s bowel within an enema form – it turns up with an X-ray. Inside a double-contrast barium enema air is added too. The barium fills and jackets the liner from the bowel, developing a obvious picture of the rectum, colon, and from time to time of a small sector from the patient’s small intestine. This process is frequently transported out plus a flexible sigmoidoscopy to identify any small polyps the barium enema X-ray might have skipped. When the barium enema X-ray detects anything abnormal, the physician may recommend a colonoscopy.


A diagram of the colonoscopy

The physician utilizes a colonoscope, that is considerably longer than the usual sigmoidoscope. A colonoscope is really a lengthy, flexible and slender tube that is mounted on a camcorder and monitor. The physician can easily see the entire colon and rectum. Any polyps discovered in this exam can be taken off immediately – sometimes tissue samples (biopsies) might be taken rather. Taking biopsies doesn’t hurt.

Although colonoscopies are painless, some people are given a gentle sedative to calm them lower. Before the exam the individual might be given a lot of laxative fluid to wash the colon (enemas are hardly ever used). Bleeding and perforation from the colon wall are possible complications, but very rare.

CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy)

A CT (computerized tomography) machine can be used to consider pictures of the colon. The individual will need a removed colon with this exam to work. Even when anything abnormal is detected, the individual will need conventional colonoscopy. Research discovered that CT colonography offer patients at elevated chance of colorectal cancer an alternative choice to colonoscopy that’s less-invasive, is much better-tolerated and it has good diagnostic precision.

Ultrasound scan

Sound waves are used to help show if the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

This gives a three-dimensional image of the bowel and may help the doctor in his/her diagnosis.

Staging the cancer

The stage of a cancer means the extent of the cancer. As soon as a colon cancer diagnosis has been made the doctor will determine its stage – this helps chose the most appropriate treatment. The stages of colon cancer are:

  • Stage 0 (Also known as Duke A stage). – the earliest stage. It is still within the mucosa (inner layer) of the colon or rectum – also called carcinoma in situ.
  • Stage I (Also known as Duke B stage). – it has grown through the inner layer of the colon or rectum, but has not yet spread beyond the wall of the rectum or colon.
  • Stage II (Also known as Duke C stage). – it has grown through or into the wall of the colon or rectum. However, it has not reached the nearby lymph nodes yet.
  • Stage III (Also known as Duke D stage). – the nearby lymph nodes have been invaded by the cancer, but it has not yet affected other parts of the body.
  • Stage IV (Also known as Duke E stage). – it has spread to other parts of the body, including other organs, such as the liver, the membrane lining the abdominal cavity, lung, or ovary.
  • Recurrent – the cancer has returned after treatment. It may come back and affect the rectum, colon, or elsewhere in the body. Scientists have found that the presence of a biomarker in regional lymph nodes is an independent predictor of disease recurrence in patients with colorectal cancer.

The stages of colon cancer

Treatments for colorectal cancer

A person’s treatment is determined by several factors, including its size and placement, happens from the cancer, whether or not this is recurrent, and also the current overall condition of health from the patient. A great specialist will show you all of the treatments open to the individual. It is really an chance for that patient to inquire about questions and obtain suggestions about changes in lifestyle that can help recovery.

Treatments include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery:

Surgery for colorectal cancer

This is actually the most typical colorectal cancer treatment. The affected malignant growths and then any lymph nodes which are nearby is going to be removed. Surgeons remove lymph nodes since they’re the initial place cancers have a tendency to spread to.

The bowel is generally stitched together again. On some occasions the rectum might need to be used out completely – a colostomy bag will be attached for drainage. The colostomy bag collects stools and it is generally placed temporarily – sometimes it might be a lasting measure if it’s not possible to subscribe the ends from the bowel.

When the cancer is identified early on, surgery could be the only treatment essential to cure the individual of colorectal cancer. Even when surgery doesn’t cure the individual, it’ll ease the signs and symptoms.


Chemotherapy involves utilizing a medicine (chemical) to eliminate the cancerous cells. It’s generally employed for cancer of the colon treatment. It might be used before surgery so that they can shrink the tumor. Research discovered that patients with advanced cancer of the colon who receive chemotherapy and who’ve a household good reputation for colorectal cancer possess a considerably lower probability of cancer recurrence and dying.


Radiotherapy uses high energy radiation beams to eliminate the cells of cancer, also to prevent them from spreading. Laser hair removal is much more generally employed for rectal cancer treatment. It might be used before surgery so that they can shrink the tumor.

Doctors may order both radiotherapy and chemotherapy after surgery as they possibly can help lower the likelihood of recurrence.

Recent developments on colorectal cancer prevention and treatment from MNT news

Aspirin, NSAIDs associated with reduced chance of colorectal cancer

Risk from colorectal cancer might be reduced with the lengthy-term utilization of low-dose aspirin and non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, new research printed within the Annals of Internal Medicine shows.

Just how can aspirin assistance to cure cancer?

Research conducted recently, printed within the journal Cell, indicates that aspirin might be good at boosting the defense mechanisms in patients struggling with breast, skin and bowel cancer.

Gene may predict recurrence of bowel cancer

A gene associated with bowel cancer recurrence and reduced survival may help predict outcomes for patients using the gene – and take researchers one step nearer to growth and development of personalized remedies, unveils research within the journal Stomach.

300 oranges’ price of ascorbic acid impairs cancer cells

The strength of ascorbic acid could eventually be harnessed to battle colorectal cancer, according to a different study printed in Science.

Daily coffee, even decaffeinated, may safeguard against colorectal cancer

Scientists in the US and Israel discovered that consuming coffee every single day – even caffeine free coffee – may lower the chance of colorectal cancer.

Recovery from colorectal cancer

Malignant tumors will most probably grow and spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. The chances of a complete cure depend enormously on how early the cancer is diagnosed and treated. A patient’s recovery depends of the following factors:

  • The cancer stage when diagnosis was made.
  • Whether a hole or blockage was created in the colon by the cancer.
  • Whether the cancer has come back.
  • The patient’s general state of health.

Prevention of colorectal cancer

We can do quite a lot to lower our chances of developing colorectal cancer:

  • Regular screenings – especially if you have had colorectal cancer before, you are over 60, there is a family history of this type of cancer, you have Crohn’s disease. Some experts say screening should start after the age of 50.
  • Nutrition – make sure your diet has plenty of fiber, fruit, vegetables, and good quality carbohydrates. Keep your consumption of red meat and processed meat down to a minimum, or cut them out altogether. Switch from saturated fats to good quality fats, such as avocado, olive oil, fish oils, and nuts. However, this study found that although vegetarians have an overall lower risk of developing cancers, their risk of developing colorectal cancer is higher than meat eaters.
  • Exercise – exercise regularly. Moderate, regular exercise has been shown to have a significant impact on lowering a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Bodyweight – keep your bodyweight healthy. Being overweight or obese raises a person’s risk of developing many cancers, including colorectal cancer.