An introduction to colorectal cancer: signs, signs and symptoms, and stages


To know colorectal cancer, it’s first useful to understand areas of the body may take a hit and just how they work.

The colon

The colon is definitely an roughly five to six-feet lengthy tube that connects the little intestine towards the rectum. The colon—which, combined with the rectum, is known as the big intestine—is a very specialized organ that accounts for processing and storing waste. The colon periodically empties its contents—stool—into the rectum to start the entire process of elimination.

The rectum

The rectum is really a 5- to six-inch chamber that connects the colon towards the anus. It’s the job from the rectum to carry the stool until defecation (evacuation) occurs.

What’s colorectal cancer?

Cancer that begins within the colon is known as a cancer of the colon, while cancer within the rectum is actually a rectal cancer. Cancers affecting either of those organs may also be known as colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancers generally develop with time from adenomatous (precancerous) polyps—growths—after a number of mutations (abnormalities) arise within their cellular DNA. The precise reason for colorectal cancer isn’t known. A few of the risks for colorectal cancer involve a household good reputation for colon or rectal cancer, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Do you know the signs and signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer?

Regrettably, some colorectal cancers may be present with no signs or signs and symptoms. Because of this, it is crucial to possess regular colorectal screenings (examinations) to identify problems early. The very best screening evaluation is really a colonoscopy. Other screening modalities include fecal occult bloodstream tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, and CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy). Age where such screening tests begin is determined by your risks, especially a household good reputation for colon and rectal cancers.

However, most colorectal cancers are connected with signs or signs and symptoms. Among the early indications of colorectal cancer is bleeding. However, tumors frequently bleed only a small amount, on / off, to ensure that proof of the bloodstream is located only during chemical testing from the stool, that is known as a fecal occult bloodstream test. Other signs and signs and symptoms include:

  • Alternation in bowel habits — Constipation, diarrhea, narrowing of stools, incomplete evacuation, and bowel incontinence—although usually signs and symptoms of other, less serious problems—can be also signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer.
  • Bloodstream on or perhaps in the stool — Probably the most noticeable of all of the signs, bloodstream on or perhaps in the stool could be connected with colorectal cancer. However, it doesn’t always indicate cancer, since numerous other issues may cause bleeding within the digestive system, including hemorrhoids, rectal tears (fissures), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, to mention merely a couple of. Additionally, iron and a few foods, for example beets, can provide the stool a black or red appearance, falsely indicating bloodstream within the stool. However, if you see bloodstream in or in your stool, visit your physician to eliminate a significant condition and to make sure that medicine is received.
  • Inexplicable anemia — Anemia is lack of red bloodstream cells, the type that carry oxygen through the body. If you’re anemic, you might experience difficulty breathing. You may even feel tired and sluggish, so much in fact that rest doesn’t cause you to feel better.
  • Abdominal discomfort or bloating
  • Inexplicable weight reduction
  • Vomiting
  • Should you experience these signs or signs and symptoms, you should visit your physician for evaluation. For any patient with colorectal cancer, early treatment and diagnosis could be existence-saving.

    Do you know the stages of colorectal cancer?

    Colorectal cancer is described clinically through the stages where it’s discovered. The different stages of the colorectal cancer are based on the depth of invasion with the wall from the intestine the participation from the lymph nodes (the drainage nodules) and also the spread with other organs (metastases). Listed here is a description from the stages of colorectal cancer as well as their treatment. Generally, treatment requires surgery (resection) from the affected area of the intestine. For many tumors, chemotherapy or—for rectal cancers—radiation are put into manage the condition.

    Stage . For cancers which are stage 0—also referred to as carcinoma in situ—the disease remains inside the lining from the colon or rectum. Therefore, elimination of cancer, either by polypectomy via colonoscopy or by surgery when the lesion is simply too large, might be everything is needed for treatment.

    Stage 1. Stage 1 colorectal cancers have become in to the wall from the intestine but haven’t spread beyond its muscular coat. The conventional management of a stage I cancer of the colon is generally a colon resection alone, where the affected area of the colon and it is lymph nodes are removed. The kind of surgery accustomed to treat a rectal cancer depends upon its location, but features a low anterior resection or perhaps an abdominoperineal resection, that are described in other patient information forms.

    Stage 2. A stage 2 colorectal cancer has permeated past the muscular layers from the colon (stage 2B) as well as spread into adjacent tissue (stage 2C). However, it hasn’t yet arrived at the lymph nodes. Normally the only strategy to this stage of cancer of the colon is really a surgical resection, although chemotherapy after surgery might be added. For any stage 2 rectal cancer, a surgical resection may also be preceded or adopted by chemotherapy and/or radiation.

    Stage 3. A stage 3 colorectal cancer is recognized as a sophisticated stage of cancer because the disease has spread towards the lymph nodes. For any cancer of the colon, surgical treatment is usually done first, adopted by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy and radiation may precede or follow surgery for any stage 3 rectal cancer.

    Stage 4. For patients with stage 4 colorectal cancer, the condition has spread (metastasized) to distant organs like the liver, lung area, or ovaries. Once the cancer has arrived at this stage, surgical treatment is generally employed for relieving or stopping complications instead of curing the individual from the disease. From time to time the cancer’s spread is fixed enough where it may be removed by surgery. Within the situation of minimal disease within the liver, the tumor might be given radiofrequency ablation (destruction with heat), cryotherapy (destruction by freezing), or intra-arterial chemotherapy. For stage 4 cancer that can’t be surgically removed, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or both enables you to relieve, delay, or prevent signs and symptoms.


    • American Cancer Society.

      Colorectal Cancer Overview

      Utilized 02/03/2016.

    • Cancer Of The Colon Alliance.

      Get information

      Utilized 2/3/2016.

    • National Cancer Institute.

      Colon and Rectal Cancer

      Utilized 02/03/2016.

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      This post is supplied by the Cleveland Clinic and isn’t meant to switch the medical health advice of the physician or doctor. Please consult your medical provider for assistance with a particular medical problem. This document was last reviewed on: 10/29/2013&hellip#14501


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