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‘Colorectal cancers not diagnosed early’

Staff Reporter
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LESSONS FOR LIFE:Venkatesh Munikrishnan, consultant colorectal surgeon at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, explaining the features of robotic surgery in Tirupati on Sunday.- PHOTO: K.V. POORNACHANDRA KUMAR
LESSONS FOR LIFE:Venkatesh Munikrishnan, consultant colorectal surgeon at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, explaining the features of robotic surgery in Tirupati on Sunday.- PHOTO: K.V. POORNACHANDRA KUMAR

Anal bleeding is often taken to be a symptom of piles but it can even lead to colorectal or bowel cancer, which is the third most common cancer found in men and the second in women worldwide. What is a matter of concern is its increasing incidence in Asia, thanks to the rapid westernisation of diet.

“Initially, it will be anaemia (low haemoglobin), followed by rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, change in bowel habits (constipation of diarrhoea), stomach discomfort and anal pain, which may be an indication of colorectal cancer,” cautioned Venkatesh Munikrishnan, consultant colorectal surgeon at Apollo Hospital, Chennai.

Fearing embarrassment, many patients avoid contacting a doctor and endure the pain. “Robotic surgery introduced recently for colorectal surgery is an improvement over the minimally-invasive surgery techniques like laparoscopic or keyhole surgery that evolved last decade, which helps zero in on the trouble area, leaving smaller scars, less pain and early recuperation,” he explained to media persons at The Apollo Clinic here on Sunday. Dr. Munikrishnan appealed to patients with such symptoms to contact a specialist immediately.

Dr. Venkatesh Munikrishnan stressed the need for creating awareness on colorectal cancers as a good number of these cancers were getting diagnosed in patients only in advanced stages, he said.

During his visit to Apollo Information Centre here as part of an awareness drive, Dr. Venkatesh said that if diagnosed early, there were fair chances of complete cure and the advent of robotic surgeries held greater hope for precision, minimal intervention and successful recovery.

Stating that robotic surgeries were started at Apollo Chennai recently, Dr. Venkatesh said that those above 50 years of age should get screened so that any complication can be eliminated. Usually, the problem of piles was reported in the population aged 20 to 40 years, but this could assume severe form if found in those above 50 years, he added.

Dr. Venkatesh said that the incidence of colorectal problems in the population was about 40 per cent.

Genetic factors and food habits played a key role behind this illness. If a patient suffers from rectal bleeding for four to six weeks, he or she should consult a specialist. Smoking, alcohol and red meat consumption were other causative factors.

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