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Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer

 

What's the scoop?

 

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. The colon is part of the large intestine in the digestive (GI) tract. The other part of the large intestine is the rectum. Cancer of the colon or rectum is therefore commonly called colorectal cancer.

 

Similarly, the large intestine is also called the large bowel. Bowel cancer is usually diagnosed in the large bowel.

 

Therefore, colorectal cancer is often called bowel cancer.

Elaborate.

 

In the majority of cases colorectal (bowel) cancer will start from a polyp. Polyps are benign (non-cancerous) lumps of tissue that are found in the lining of the large intestine, but in some cases they can grow beyond control and turn into cancer.

 

The most common type of colon cancer comes from a previously non-cancerous polyp as described. This type is called adenocarcinoma which refers to gland cells that are inside of the polyp(s).

 

What are the risks and what can I do?

 

Although bowel cancer can occur at any age, usually it is diagnosed in people over the age of 65.

 

There is screening for colorectal/bowel cancer which is especially important for those with a family history or have certain familial gene mutations passed down.

 

Screening is done with an at-home kit which can either be a

  • fecal DNA test (FDNA)
  • fecal immunochemical test (FITO)
  • fecal occult blood test (FOBT)

 

Other more invasive methods might include scans called a colonoscopy or a sigmoidscopy in which a camera is inserted into the body for a better view.

 

If the blood tests and scans indicate that you do have bowel cancer, your doctor will begin to plan a course of how to treat it.

 

I have it. Now what?

 

Treatment of colon cancer almost always includes surgery, however there are many types of surgery for bowel cancer, so your medical professional might decide which type depending on where the cancer is in the large intestine and how much it has grown.

 

Names of surgeries to look out for include

  • polypectomy
  • endoscopic mucosal resection (ESD)
  • colectomy
  • proctectomy
  • pelvic exenteration
  • robotic or laproscopic surgery (minimally invasive)

 

 

Along with surgery, a medical professional might consider chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy to fight colorectal cancer, however how which type of treatment, how many courses or cycles, and how long it will take will depend on your specific case.

 

For advanced cases there are also many clinical trials available which are continually developing to better treat colon cancer, so if this is the case, it is important you reach out to your medical team and your cancer network for new and advanced treatment options.

 

 

 

What's the scoop?

 

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. The colon is part of the large intestine in the digestive (GI) tract. The other part of the large intestine is the rectum. Cancer of the colon or rectum is therefore commonly called colorectal cancer.

 

Similarly, the large intestine is also called the large bowel. Bowel cancer is usually diagnosed in the large bowel.

 

Therefore, colorectal cancer is often called bowel cancer.

Graphic representation of Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer

Elaborate.

 

In the majority of cases colorectal (bowel) cancer will start from a polyp. Polyps are benign (non-cancerous) lumps of tissue that are found in the lining of the large intestine, but in some cases they can grow beyond control and turn into cancer.

 

The most common type of colon cancer comes from a previously non-cancerous polyp as described. This type is called adenocarcinoma which refers to gland cells that are inside of the polyp(s).

 

What are the risks and what can I do?

 

Although bowel cancer can occur at any age, usually it is diagnosed in people over the age of 65.

 

There is screening for colorectal/bowel cancer which is especially important for those with a family history or have certain familial gene mutations passed down.

 

Screening is done with an at-home kit which can either be a

  • fecal DNA test (FDNA)
  • fecal immunochemical test (FITO)
  • fecal occult blood test (FOBT)

 

Other more invasive methods might include scans called a colonoscopy or a sigmoidscopy in which a camera is inserted into the body for a better view.

 

If the blood tests and scans indicate that you do have bowel cancer, your doctor will begin to plan a course of how to treat it.

 

I have it. Now what?

 

Treatment of colon cancer almost always includes surgery, however there are many types of surgery for bowel cancer, so your medical professional might decide which type depending on where the cancer is in the large intestine and how much it has grown.

 

Names of surgeries to look out for include

  • polypectomy
  • endoscopic mucosal resection (ESD)
  • colectomy
  • proctectomy
  • pelvic exenteration
  • robotic or laproscopic surgery (minimally invasive)

 

 

Along with surgery, a medical professional might consider chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy to fight colorectal cancer, however how which type of treatment, how many courses or cycles, and how long it will take will depend on your specific case.

 

For advanced cases there are also many clinical trials available which are continually developing to better treat colon cancer, so if this is the case, it is important you reach out to your medical team and your cancer network for new and advanced treatment options.

 

 

Symptom list:

Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer

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Financial support

Not all of us are able to afford the treatment we need. Search your insurance coverage, or check out what charities may be able to offer you for your condition.

p.s. Just because you have insurance, that doesn't mean that charities or other organizations are not able to support you too.

Emotional support

Whether it's a free counseling session or to find someone with a similar diagnosis, these Germie approved charities might be able to help. Click to explore their offerings!

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