RECTAL CANCER (Bowel Cancer)

Bowel cancer is a  term for cancer that is located in the large intestines. Depending on the location of the cancer, it may be referred to as either colon, rectal or colorectal cancer. There is no known cause for this condition.

Three main symptoms of bowel cancer:

  • bloody stools
  • change in bowel movement (frequent, looser stools)
  • moderate to severe abdominal pain

Several risk factors are identified as the following:

  • age(age  60 or over)
  • high red meat or processed food diet
  • obesity
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • high alcohol intake
  • smoking history
  • history of bowel cancer in immediate family
  • other severe or chronic bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease

Diagnosis

After thorough history-taking, the physician may order the following examinations or laboratory tests:

  • Digital rectal examination (DRE)
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Laboratory Tests (CBC, serum chemistry, liver and renal function tests, CEA and CA 19-9 assay, if available)
  • Radiologic studies (CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis, transrectal ultrasound)

 

Recommended Management

Treatment depends largely on the stage and grading of bowel cancer. The goals of treatment and management are to reduce stage of tumor, induce remission, lower morbidity and prevent further complications. The mainstay treatment of bowel cancer is surgery, and may be combined with chemotherapy (anti-neoplastic treatment), radiotherapy or a combination of chemo and radio treatment.

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