Colon and Rectum: Colorectal Cancer & Treatments

Colon and Rectum: Colorectal Cancer & Treatments

Colon and Rectum

The intestine is part of the digestive system. It consists of the small intestine and the large intestine. The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. The colon is a U-shaped tube made of muscles and located under the stomach. The rectum is a shorter tube that is connected to the colon. Together they are about 2 meters (6 feet) long. They are surrounded by other organs including the spleen, liver, pancreas, bladder and reproductive organs.

Colorectal cancer

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What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor that originates in the cells of the colon or rectum. The word "malignant" means that the tumor is cancerous and can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine and the digestive system. The colon absorbs water and nutrients and carries residues (stool, or feces) to the rectum. The cancers of the colon and rectum are grouped in the colorectal cancer category since these organs are made of the same tissues and there is no clear limit between them.

The cells of the colon or rectum sometimes undergo changes that make their growth pattern or behavior abnormal. These changes may result in the formation of benign tumors, such as hyperplastic or inflammatory polyps, which are not cancerous.

Changes in the cells of the colon and rectum can also lead to precancerous states. This means that the cells are not yet cancerous, but that their risk of becoming cancerous is higher. The most common precancerous conditions of the colon and rectum are adenomas and syndromes of hereditary colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer occurs most often in the glandular cells lining the lining of the colon or rectum. These glandular cells produce mucus that helps stool move through the colon and rectum. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma of the colon or rectum.

Rare types of colorectal cancer can also occur. Small cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are examples.

Symptoms of Colorectal cancer

There are no characteristic symptoms of colorectal cancer. On the other hand, a certain number of signs must encourage to consult:

intestinal transit disorders (constipation, prolonged diarrhea, increased abdominal volume, urgent and continual need to have a bowel movement, feeling of incomplete evacuation, etc.);

abdominal discomfort (bloating, cramping, pain, etc.)

blood in the stool (usually not visible to the naked eye)

recent loss of appetite;

unexplained weight loss;

abnormal fatigue.

Note: As these general symptoms are common in many minor illnesses, calm and circumspection remain. Only a medical consultation and specialized examinations will confirm the diagnosis.

However, it is not necessary to wait for the occurrence of one of these symptoms to benefit from an early diagnosis: the screening organized by the search for blood in the stool with the immunological test is when all is well and every 2 years old, from 50 to 74 years old!

Colorectal cancer

Treatments for colorectal cancer

If you have colorectal cancer, your healthcare team will develop a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your needs and could include the combination of different treatments. When your healthcare team decides what treatments to offer you for colorectal cancer, it takes the following into consideration:

the location of the tumor or where the cancer has reappeared (recurrence)

the stage of cancer

your general state of health

your personal preferences

You may be offered one or more of the following treatments for colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer

Please if you have any questions about Colon, Rectum and Colorectal cancer, you can ask us by commenting below this text, we'll answer you as soon as possible.

Surgery

Surgery is the main treatment for most colorectal cancers. Depending on the stage and location of the tumor, you may have one of the following types of surgery.

Local excision, or local resection, mostly removes a polyp or early-stage tumor that is on the surface of the colon or rectum lining (superficial tumor). The surgeon uses special equipment, usually an endoscope, to remove the polyp or tumor and a margin of healthy tissue all around. Local excision is also used to remove local recurrence of rectal cancer or to relieve symptoms such as pain (palliative surgery).

Bowel resection is the most common type of colorectal cancer surgery. It removes part of the intestine and the neighboring lymph nodes. Depending on the location of the tumor, the surgeon may practice one of the following types of bowel resection:

right hemicolectomy to remove the right side of the colon

Transverse colectomy to remove the central part of the colon

left hemicolectomy to remove the left side of the colon

sigmoid colectomy to remove the last part of the colon

low anterior resection to remove the last part of the colon and part of the rectum

proctocolectomy to remove the rectum and part of the sigmoid colon (last part of the colon)

abdominoperineal resection to remove the rectum, anal canal and adjacent muscles

partial colectomy to remove most of the colon

total colectomy to remove all the colon

A colostomy or ileostomy can be done after intestinal resection. These surgeries can also help to clear or prevent a blockage in the intestine, an intestinal obstruction. During the colostomy, a stoma (artificial opening) is created in the colon to the outside of the body through the wall of the abdomen. The ileostomy makes it possible to create a stoma of the ileum (last part of the small intestine) to the outside of the body through the wall of the abdomen. Colostomy and ileostomy may be temporary or permanent.

Pelvic exenteration can be used to treat stage 4 or recurrent rectal cancer that has spread to nearby organs. It allows to remove the rectum, other organs of the pelvis, including the reproductive organs, and the lymph nodes. Sometimes the bladder and part of the colon are removed.

Surgery is done to remove metastatic tumors when there is only one or a few in the liver or lungs.

chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a common treatment for colorectal cancer. It is often given after surgery for stage 2 or stage 3 colon cancer. Chemotherapy may be used as the primary treatment for stage 4 or recurrent colon or rectal cancer that cannot be removed by surgery. surgery.

The following chemotherapeutic agents may be administered alone or in combination to treat colorectal cancer:

5-fluorouracil (Adrucil, 5-FU)

capecitabine (Xeloda)

oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)

irinotecan (Camptosar)

raltitrexed (Tomudex)

chemo radiotherapy

Chemo radiotherapy combines chemotherapy with radiotherapy. Chemotherapy and radiation are given during the same period. Some types of chemotherapy make radiotherapy more effective.

Chemo radiation is often given prior to surgery for stage 1, 2 or 3 rectal cancer, ie, neoadjuvant chemo radiation. It can also be given after surgery for rectal cancer, but it is not very common.

Radiotherapy

Mostly, radiotherapy is used to treat rectal cancer. It is usually given before surgery and sometimes as part of a chemo radiotherapy (chemotherapy and radiotherapy given during the same period). It may be used after surgery for stage 3 colon cancer to help prevent the recurrence or recurrence of cancer.

Radiotherapy to the abdomen, pelvis, bones or brain can be used as a palliative treatment for advanced colorectal cancer that cannot be surgically removed.

External radiotherapy is the most common type of radiotherapy. Brachytherapy may be used in some cases.

Targeted treatment

Targeted treatment is used to treat stage 4 colorectal cancer that has spread to distant organs such as the liver or lungs. It is usually associated with chemotherapy, but can be administered alone.

The following targeted drugs can be used to treat colorectal cancer:

bevacizumab (Avastin)

Cetuximab (Erbitux)

panitumumab (Vectibix)

Regorafenib (Stivarga)

Followed

Post-treatment follow-up is an important component of caring for people with cancer. You will need to have regular follow-up visits, especially during the first 5 years after treatment. These visits allow the care team to monitor your progress and find out how you are recovering from the treatment.

Clinical tests

Some colorectal cancer clinical trials are underway in Canada and accept participants. Clinical trials aim to find new, better methods for cancer prevention, detection and treatment. Learn more about clinical trials.

Colorectal cancer

Please if you have any questions about Colon, Rectum and Colorectal cancer, you can ask us by commenting below this text, we'll answer you as soon as possible.

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