According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer occurs in the cells lining the colon (large intestine) or rectum (the area that connects the colon to the anus). It is slow-growing cancer that starts as non-cancerous polyp growth on the inside lining of the colon or rectum. If left untreated, a polyp may develop into potentially life-threatening cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, different types of colorectal cancer are as follows:
Adenocarcinomas are the most common colorectal cancer that develops in the epithelial cells lining the colon and rectum. These cells secrete mucous-like substances.
It develops in the specialized nerve cell called interstitial cells of Cajal that are located within the walls of the colon.
Carcinoid tumors are neuroendocrine tumors that occur in the specialized hormone-making cells of the intestine.
Colorectal lymphoma is an uncommon cancer that occurs in the immune cells of the colon and rectum.
Sarcoma is a rare cancer that develops in blood vessels and connective tissue of the walls of the colon and rectum.
Common signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer may include the following :
The treatment options depend on the type and stage of cancer and the overall health of the patient.
Surgery involves the complete removal of the tumor with some surrounding healthy tissue. It is the most common treatment for colorectal cancer. The extent of surgical removal depends on the size and spread of the cancer. Depending on the location and size of the tumor, colon cancer doctors may perform a minimally invasive surgical technique called laparoscopic surgery.
Ablative treatments are usually used when the tumor spreads to other body parts. It reduces the size of the tumor and improves symptoms of colon cancer. It destroys tumor cells by using extreme cold (cryoablation) or high-energy radio waves (radiofrequency ablation).
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancerous cells to treat colorectal cancer. Radiation can be delivered via an external machine outside the body by a process called external beam radiotherapy.
Chemotherapy uses systemic anti-cancer drugs, which enter the bloodstream and reach and destroy rapidly growing cancer cells.
Targeted therapy blocks the spread of cancer by explicitly targeting the specific cell proteins or genes that contribute to the growth of cancer. It causes fewer side effects and spares healthy cells because of its specific action.
Immunotherapy treatment, also called biologic therapy, uses a specific protein to enhance the patient's immune system cells' ability to target and destroy cancer cells.
The following tests and procedures may be recommended depending on the symptoms of colon cancer, age, and general health of the patient:
Blood samples are tested to check the level of red blood cells through a complete blood count (CBC), as bleeding in the colon and rectum may make the patient anemic. Blood samples are also analyzed to detect the level of a protein called a carcinoembryonic antigen, which may indicate the metastasis of a colorectal tumor.
A colon cancer doctor gently inserts a thin, lighted, and flexible tube called a colonoscopy through the anus to examine the structures of the rectum and colon. Anesthesia is administered before the procedure.
A biopsy provides a definitive diagnosis of cancer. The procedure involves the removal of a tissue sample for a microscopic examination to detect the presence of cancerous cells. The tissue sample can be removed during a colonoscopy or via surgical removal of a part of the tumor. Sometimes, a fine hollow needle is guided under imaging procedures like a CT scan to collect the tissue fluid or cells from the suspicious area (FNAC).
High-intensity radiation is used to produce detailed 3-dimensional computerized images. They are used to locate and measure the tumor's size. Various imaging tests used are:
A biomarker test is a molecular test that identifies specific genes, proteins, and other factors unique to colorectal cancer.
The cancer specialists at ACTC in Florida offer outstanding patient care by prescribing personalized and evidence-based treatment plans tailored to individual patients' needs. We aim to foster a positive environment that focuses on physical and mental health throughout a patient's journey.
The following are our providers who you can consult at ACTC:
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, a detailed discussion with your primary physician will help you understand your condition better. Your primary care doctor can then refer you to an advanced specialty center, such as ACTC in Florida.
As one of Florida's best cancer centers, we understand how a cancer diagnosis and therapy impact a person's physical and emotional well-being. Therefore, we work hard to make patients and their families feel secure. We understand how imperative it is for you and your loved one to make informed choices and play an active part in your medical care. We at ACTC strive to support you at every step of diagnosis, staging, treatment, and long-term follow-up in one convenient location. Our cancer specialists are backed up by qualified clinical staff with over two decades of experience and a reputation for providing personalized colorectal cancer treatment.
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A significant disturbance in bowel movement (diarrhea or constipation) that persists for many days and bright red or dark blood in the stools are the early symptoms of colon cancer.
Various factors that increase the risk of colon cancer include a family history of colorectal cancer, genetic factors, inflammatory bowel disease, previous history of cancer, certain polyps (adenomatous polyps), smoking, obesity, and increased consumption of processed food.
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, there is no specific measure to prevent colorectal cancer. However, managing your body weight, increasing physical activity, a healthy diet (rich in fruits and vegetables), and low red meat consumption may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
ACTC is one of Florida's leading cancer specialty centers, which offers personalized and comprehensive colon cancer care in a modern, state-of-the-art facility close to home. You can schedule a consultation by calling 352-345-4565 or completing the online form at www.actchealth.com. (we can give the link to the form here)