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Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel or colon cancer, originates in the colon or rectum, which are parts of the digestive system. Colorectal cancer usually starts off as a growth of tissue called a polyp, which can become cancerous as time goes on. Early detection and treatment are crucial for positive outcomes as this cancer can be treatable when identified in its earlier stages. 

Risk Factors

The chances of colorectal cancer increases the older you become, or if there is a family history of colon cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome). Other risk factors include inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's or ulcerative colitis.  

Lifestyle factors also increase the risk of colorectal cancer such as lack of exercise/physical movement, a low fruit and vegetable diet, obesity, alcohol consumption, and tobacco use. 



In its early stages, colorectal cancer may not cause noticeable symptoms. Common symptoms include changes in bowel habits, persistent abdominal discomfort, blood in the stool, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue.



Colonoscopy: A procedure in which a flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the colon to visualize the interior and detect polyps or cancerous growths.

Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) and Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT): Stool samples are tested for the presence of blood, which may indicate the presence of colorectal cancer.

CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy): Imaging test that provides detailed images of the colon and rectum.

Biopsy: A sample of tissue is taken from the colon or rectum during a colonoscopy to confirm the presence of cancer and determine its type.



Surgery: The primary treatment for localized colorectal cancer involves removing the tumor and surrounding tissue. 

Chemotherapy: Medications that kill or slow the growth of cancer cells may be used before or after surgery or as the primary treatment for advanced cases.

Radiation Therapy: High-energy rays are used to target and destroy cancer cells.

Targeted Therapy: Drugs that target specific molecules involved in cancer growth.



Preventing colorectal cancer involves a combination of making healthy lifestyle choices and undergoing regular screenings. Please note it's not possible to completely prevent cancer, however, these measures can contribute to early detection. These are the methods to help prevent colorectal cancer: screening, healthy diet, managing chronic conditions, genetic counseling, and keeping in mind potential symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue. 

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