Colorectal cancer is also known as the following terms; bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer. It is the development of cancer of parts of the intestine; most cases of colorectal cancer originate from noncancerous tumours known as adenomatous polyps. One of the earliest symptoms of colorectal cancer is a persistent change in bowel movements.
Dr. Rehana Hafeez, an experienced surgeon in Lahore, giving her expert advice about the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer. She sat down with oladoc to talk about its symptoms, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options in Pakistan.
Q.1: What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is generally cancer affecting parts of the large intestines; it is not commonly known in Pakistan because most people refer to symptoms of this cancer as normal stomach ache, diarrhea, and weight loss etc.
A specialist is usually consulted when the patient experiences blood in their urine. Whenever a patient feels any of these symptoms, it is advised to meet a specialist as soon as possible and get relevant tests done to detect cancer and opt for timely treatment.
Q.2: What are the main causes of this cancer?
It is difficult to pinpoint particular causes because multiple theories and studies exist. The most frequently cited cause is genetics; genes are the carriers of many other diseases including cancer as well. Other contributing factors are unhealthy diets with high-fat content and environmental factors.
Q.3: What is the diagnostic procedure of colon cancer?
This is an important question because many people are unaware of the diagnostic procedure. Different tests are done all over the world, aimed at analyzing the blood in intestines. Moreover, procedures like Endoscopy also effectively detect colon cancer, especially in initial stages. Colonoscopy is also another procedure where a camera is interested into the patient’s body to detect cancer. Other tests include CT scan and several laboratory evaluations.
Q.4: How to treat colorectal cancer?
It is important to note that colorectal cancer is now curable, thanks to developments and research in the medical field. Timely diagnosis is important because it ensures a higher success rate of the treatment. There are three types of treatments; operation, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Surgery is the first line of defence; it is done in the early stages of cancer to eliminate it.
A keyhole surgery is done, which is minimally invasive with the least amount of side effects. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are done at advanced stages, the aim is to shrink cancer and then eliminate it from the patient’s body.
Q.5: What is a piece of general advice you would give to everyone?
I would strongly advise anyone who experiences stomach related issues to not ignore these problems and consult a specialist at the earliest. Early diagnosis is of key importance since it increases the chances of treatment resulting in success. Cancer is scary but it is important to realize that it is curable, many patients are able to fully recover.