Colorectal cancer: causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention

Colon and rectal cancers have many similar characteristics, common in men and women. However, they usually do not show immediate symptoms, so it is necessary to recognize them as soon as they appear in order to apply an effective and prompt treatment.

What is colon and rectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer or rectum, starts in the last part of the large intestine, when tumors start to form in the inner or outer lining of the intestine, near the colon or rectum. They generally appear more frequently in men and women from 50 years.

Causes of cancer

This cancer occurs when small growths form in the inner part of the large intestine, called polyps, which can be seen as precancerous (adenomas). Polyps tend to gradually develop into cancer, they are a health hazard.

A polyp can become cancer when:

-it is more than one centimeter,

-there is more than one polyp in same region

– after polyp removal, there are strange and abnormal cells around.

Only the histological (microscopic) study of a biopsy or of the polyp itself confirms its benign character. The endoscopic appearance is misleading and cannot be sufficient.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms that reveal colorectal cancer may take a long time to appear, so you are advised to be extra careful if you notice any of these signs repeatedly. You may feel them as if it is just a simple pain in your stomach, until it gets worse.

Some of the main symptoms include constipation or diarrhea or even a chronic feeling of having to go to the bathroom, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, muscle weakness or weight loss, and heavy fluid intake.


Any diagnosed polyp should be removed during colonoscopy, if it is not too large , or if there are not many. In these cases, a surgical excision of a portion of the colon may be necessary (this is called polypectomy).

Microscopic examination of the structure and organization of the polyp is necessary: ​​excisional biopsy, simple biopsy or surgical specimen.

To treat rectal or colon cancer, several methods are applied depending on the patient’s state of health, his personal decision and the stage of the cancer. In the case of local cancers, it is systematic to resort to a surgical intervention to extract the tumors as soon as possible. Systemic or general treatments include options such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy or the use of anticancer drugs.

Preventive methods consist of adopting a healthy lifestyle, consulting regularly a doctor and pay attention to a sudden change in body anatomy and daily bowel movements.

To learn more about the best preventive actions to take:


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