Many of us don’t really take stomach problems seriously, until things escalate to the next level. As they say, knowledge is power, and in this post, we will discuss some of the basic aspects that one must know about colorectal cancer and when to see a gastro doctor.
What’s colorectal cancer?
For the uninitiated, colorectal cancer is also known as rectal cancer or bowel cancer, and it affects the rectum and colon (which is the large intestine). This is the second known leading cause of deaths due to cancer in women, but with better screening and treatments, things are getting better. This can be a malignant cancer, as well, which means that it can affect other parts and organs of the body.
When to see a doctor? Check the symptoms
In case of colorectal cancer, the main symptoms and signs are related bowel movements. Check for simple conditions like frequent diarrhea and constipation, blood in feces, red blood coming from the rectum and sudden yet consistent change in bowel movements. Additionally, there can be a sense of fullness in the abdomen, sudden weight loss and even pain in the abdomen. Please note that just because you have some of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have colorectal cancer. However, do see a doctor if any of these symptoms seem to be persistent for more than four weeks.
What’s the possible treatment?
As with any cancer, the stage and size of the cancer and the health of the patient determines the line of the treatment. Typically, colorectal cancer is either treated with chemo, surgery or radiotherapy. Among these, surgery is the most common, in which malignant tumors are removed along with lymph nodes surrounding it. While the large intestine can be stitched back, but it can be removed, as well, and in that case, colostomy bag is used for the required drainage. Surgery can be remove cancer, but if that’s not possible, it can be used a measure to ease the condition and related symptoms.
What are the risk factors?
Age and diet patterns are two major causes of bowel cancer. People with low-fiber diet, history of polyps, excessive alcohol consumption and a family history of the disease are usually at higher risk. Women, who previously had or have, ovary or breast cancer might be a higher risk.
Do not take the symptoms lightly. Stomach issues should ease in a day or two, but if that doesn’t happen, see a doctor.