Bowel cancer is found in the large bowel of the human body and depending on where it is exactly located, it could either be colon or rectal cancer.
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The following risk factors increase your likelihood of being diagnosed with bowel cancer:
Following are the main symptoms of bowel cancer:
The above mentioned symptoms are very often associated with other diseases of the digestive system. If these symptoms persist, and/or increase in intensity as you grow older they may be a cause for serious concern. A proper diagnosis is therefore necessary.
Before any other specific or major tests, your GP will perform a digital rectal exam to check for any cancerous lumps. You may be asked to undergo a blood test as well, and based on the results you may be referred for a colonoscopy.
More advanced diagnostic tests include:
Surgery is one of the main treatments for bowel cancer. Depending on the stage of your cancer, here are the main types of surgeries:
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs to kill or shrink the cancer causing cells and to prevent the spread of cancer to other areas of the body. Chemotherapy can be given before, or after the surgery to shrink the tumor and to prevent the cancer from returning respectively. It is also given in combination with radiotherapy or as palliative care for late stage cancer. The specific chemotherapy drug or combination of drugs will be prescribed based on your individual case.
Radiation therapy works by aiming high energy waves at the cancerous cells. This treatment, as chemotherapy, can be given before and/or after surgery and is also used for shrinking the tumor when surgery is not an option. It is only offered for rectal cancer.
Developments in the field of pharmacology have lead to the development of drugs that target only specific proteins or related elements in the body, in order to kill the cancer cells or prevent them from spreading/returning without harming surrounding cells. Such drugs are often given in combination with chemotherapy drugs, but may also be prescribed alone. In bowel cancer, drugs target the epidermal growth factor receptors found on the cancer cells, when these receptors are targeted, the oncogenesis i.e., the transformation of healthy cells into cancer cells is inhibited. Thereby, shrinking the tumor size and also preventing it from spreading.
Please bear in mind, that your medical history, your environment which includes family and friends, your lifestyle habits, genetics, the type and intensity of cancer you have, all play a role in deciding the course of your treatment. Many times a combination of treatments is recommended, and this may change through the duration of your illness. This is done so the doctor can ensure that you are getting the best possible treatment for your individual case.
We understand that before going through a major treatment like surgery or radiotherapy, you may be feeling unsure and want a second opinion, or you would like to look for the top oncologist specializing in Bowel cancer, or for a clinical trial doing cutting edge research. For support with any of these queries and question, Qunomedical is here for you 24/7.