Colorectal cancer on the rise

Changes in lifestyle, dietary habits and growing obesity are said to be reasons

Published - March 02, 2019 01:12 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

The incidence of colorectal cancer, which is prevalent in western countries, is seeing an increasing trend in India also due to changes in lifestyle and dietary habits and growing obesity.

In a majority of patients, bowel cancer starts as small polyps in the intestine. The risk of occurrence of polyps increase with increasing age and it is high in certain families, which already have a member suffering with similar cancer, says Dr. Chalapathi Rao Achanta, gastroenterologist of KIMS ICON Hospital, in connection with the Colorectal cancer awareness month being observed from March 1 to 30.

Most of the colon polyps do not have any symptoms and they can be detected by screening colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is a tube which is passed through the anal region from behind into the large intestine. It is a relatively safe, simple procedure and is done as an office-based procedure.

The presence of polyps can be detected accurately and can be removed at the same time using colonoscopy from inside without any external cut or wound or scar or any suture. Removal of polyps from the colon is possible with techniques called ‘polypectomy’ and ‘endoscopic mucosal resection’.

By removing the polyps at an early stage, the risk of future cancer is eliminated. Patients are observed for a short while and discharged home. The biopsy from the polyp should be carefully followed up and future surveillance is decided by the gastroenterologist.

“Colonoscopy and removal of polyps has drastically reduced the incidence of bowel cancer in the West. Screening colonoscopy is usually recommended in patients who are beyond 45 years of age irrespective of symptoms and patients with family member suffering from a bowel cancer,” Dr. Chalapathi Rao says.

“The common symptoms are abdominal pain blood in the stool and weight loss. Diagnosis is possible with colonoscopy and biopsy and abdominal scanning. Accurate diagnosis is important to decide on the appropriate therapy for the patient,” he adds.

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