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Colorectal cancer is otherwise known as cancer of the colon or the rectum. This can affect both men and women with age being a major risk factor. Majority of such cancers are seen to occur after age of 50 years.
Type: Colorectal cancers can present as one of the following types:
Adenocarcinomas are the most common type of colorectal cancers. These cancers begin in the cells making mucous and other fluids. Certain colorectal cancers begin as adenomatous polyps (adenomas) that turn cancerous over a period of time. This is precisely why the adenomas are regarded as pre-cancerous or pre-malignant.
Gastrointestinal (GI) carcinoid tumors, GI stromal tumors, primary colorectal lymphoma, leiomyosarcoma, melanoma & squamous cell carcinoma are certain other colorectal cancers
Carcinoid tumors: start in specialized cells that produce hormones, in the intestine.
GI Stromal tumors: start in the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC), in the wall of the colon.
Lymphomas: start typically in the lymph nodes but they may also start in colon or rectum.
Sarcomas: can start in the muscle and the connective tissue in the walls of the colon and rectum.
Gender: It affects both male and female populace.
Etiology: Mostly, the factors that are associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer include the following –
Age exceeding 50 years.
Racial & ethnic background such as African Americans, in the USA, are known to have the highest incidence of colorectal cancer, and mortality rates.
Low fibre and high fat diet. Excessive consumption of red meat (e.g. goat meat, beef, pork, lamb, or liver), processed meats, butter, refined grains, sweets, sugary drinks etc all can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Personal history of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) (e.g. ulcerative colitis), Crohn’s disease, adenomatous colorectal polyps, colorectal cancer etc all.
Family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps etc all.
Inherited syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC).
Sedentary lifestyle/ associated Obesity.
Tobacco and alcohol abuse.
Features or symptoms can vary from person to person depending on the size and location of the tumour. Following are the signs & symptoms mainly -
Changes in bowel habits, diarrhea or constipation or an alternating diarrhea and constipation.
Occult/ blood in the stool, and
Problems related to blood loss (e.g. anemia, weakness, fatigue, intolerance to exercise, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, chest pain etc all),
Abdominal discomfort (frequent gas/ flatulence, bloating, fullness, cramps, and pain), vomiting etc.
Unexplained weight loss,
Pain with bowel movement,
Feeling that bowel does not empty completely,
Stools are narrower than usual.
- Diagnosis: Following are the diagnostics employed. Abnormal blood test results may be indicative of malignancy, but a follow-up imaging/ biopsy is always the gold standard for accurate diagnosis.
- Blood: fecal occult blood test, Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) assay values are raised, Hb/ RBC counts may be low.
- Imaging: Colonoscopy, Endorectal Scan/ CT Scan followed by Biopsy clinches the diagnosis and the nature of the disease.
- Apart from the above-mentioned barium enema X-Ray, USG, Chest X-ray, PET CT scan etc all help detect metastasis, if any. An increase in level of the serum tumor marker ‘CEA’ is indicative of metastatic spread/ proliferation that can be ascertained through a PET CT scan.
- Treatment: Conventional treatment includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy as contextually appropriate. Simultaneously, an adjunctive/ integrative naturopathic treatment with suitable complementary & alternative medicines (CAM)/ therapies too can help improve clinical outcomes and facilitate recovery as feasible contextually.
Prognosis: Preventive measures, earlier diagnosis and right early treatment is key for better prognosis and efficient/ effective therapeutic management. Usually, the chances of cure for an early stage cancer are more. Above-mentioned apart, recovery chances are influenced by the grade, stage of cancer, recurrence and the patient’s general health & vitality etc all too.
Prevention: Rightly said, prevention is always a better choice. Although genetic risks are difficult to modify, still an adherence to a Mediterranean diet, maintaining an ideal body weight and an active lifestyle with due emphasis on regular exercising (for at least 30 minutes daily), de-stressing and relaxation is highly recommended for prevention or reducing the risks of colorectal cancer. A healthy eating plate comprises essentially a low fat diet, fibre rich foods including whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables cooked using healthy vegetable oils, fresh fruits of all colours as seasonally available and healthy proteins/ fats including fresh fish, poultry, beans, nuts etc all. It is advisable to limit milk/ dairy, preferably of low fat content, to 1 to 2 servings max daily. Although alcohol is optional and is not for everyone, the consumption of the same, if any, has to be strictly in moderation, and is best avoided. Smoking is to be avoided as well. Again, red meat, butter, refined grains, sweets, sugary drinks including carbonated beverages and other high calorie foods etc all, if any, are to be taken sparingly or are best avoided too. Apart from the generic preventive measures as mentioned above, certain pre-malignant conditions, of which adenomas are the most common, can be successfully treated with complementary and alternative medicines too.
With terminal illnesses like cancer, the disease is not the only thing that requires treatment. In addition to controlling the severity and spread of the main disease, the effect it has on the other body systems including emotional, social, psychological problems and also physical issues like pain and inflammation. Though the disease has reached an advanced stage and cannot be cured, the patient can be made to be pain-free and at peace to the extent possible.
The goal of palliative care is not to cure - in fact, palliative care is in place for diseases like cancer from the time it is diagnosed and treatment is begun but becomes the major component of treatment once the cancer is identified to be in terminal stages. Therapeutic care aimed at curing the cancer is gradually reduced and palliative care assumes a bigger role. This is also called as symptomatic care, supportive care, or comfort care.
Aspects of palliative care: Once the disease is identified to be in terminal stages, then the following become considerations:
- Stay at home or hospital
- Withdraw chemotherapy and radiation?
- Withdraw feeding tube
- Spiritual discussions
- Reduce anxiety
- Good quality time with the family
- Reduce pain and suffering
As is evident, there is a huge component of social/emotional/spiritual management in addition to reducing pain and suffering:
- Physical: Pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, loss of appetite are some symptoms that need to be managed. In addition to pain killers, small exercises can be included to make them feel better, even if it is just getting a breath of fresh air.
- Social: Depression (learn the ways to handle depression), anxiety, uncertainty, fear are all looming large and they are not sure how to manage these feelings. Talking to a counselor or some close family member or friend can be a big relief - the burden is off their chest.
- Legal: There could be issues related to property, insurance, property that also need to be discussed. External help can be sought if required to provide financial counselling and legal advice.
- Spiritual: Looking into the spiritual needs and understanding the deeper meaning of life, restoring faith are some things that also can help them feel better. "Why did this happen to me?" is a question most people keep asking and while there is no answer, some solace can be provided through talks.
It is to be noted that palliative care is not just for the patient. The caretakers (family and close friends) are equally in need of some support. So, once the patient is identified to be in terminal stages, all effort is made so the final leg of the journey is peaceful and as painless as possible.
Dear sir, our neighbour was facing a critical problem please advice to solve the problem. She is 51 years old. Two years back she had taken a treatment for urinal cancer at kurnool govt. Cancer hospital. All off sudden recently she was suffering with stomach pain that too at toilet time. Finally what she found that the potty came from vagina not from anus. Due to these she suffered with pain. Advice please to solve the issue.
Hampered drive for physical intimacy may not be the case with everybody suffering from cancer. Since, each individual is different with varied sexual needs, it is rather impossible to predict how cancer would affect a person’s sex drive. But certain treatments of cancer might take a toll on your libido and subsequently, your sex life.
Cancer and certain treatments of cancer, can be the reason behind your low libido as they can cause:
1. Imbalance in the sex hormones
2. Scarring of the skin
3. Breathing problems
4. Diarrhea or bowel problems
6. Tension or anxiety
7. Depression or sadness
9. Fatigue (Tiredness)
10. Persistent sickness
With any of these side-effects, you may not have the urge of indulging in sexual intercourse because of the constant irritability and pain, essentially resulting from weakness. You might also think less of yourself, with no care for the way you dress up, make up or do your hair as you used to do before. With fatigue playing nemesis to your libido, you may feel entirely washed out, exhausted and spent after your intensive chemotherapy sessions.
How do you address this problem?
1. Speak out: Try unburdening yourself of the worries and anxiety in front of your partner or the doctor and make them understand how you truly feel about yourself. They may be able to guide you home.
2. Plan your rumble beforehand: You can plan your sexual activity by taking pain killers an hour prior to lovemaking.
3. Foreplay helps: Remember, sexual contact cannot spread cancer, ever. An intense session of foreplay has never disappointed anybody and it might work wonders if you have been going through all the rigor of cancer and its treatment lately. It would make you feel genuinely cared for; this might just egg you on to come out of that shell of depression and anxiety and enjoy sex like the way you used to.
I am 25 years old male. I went for a check up five months back for kidney stones. The doctor told me that your prostate is getting enlarged and asked me a question do you masturbate daily. I told yes. He asked me to stop it. Now my question is if I have enlarged prostate how do I cure without any side effects or naturally. I use to urinate nearly 20 times daily. I suspect it is because of enlarged prostate because my blood sugar is normal .Help me to out of this.
I want know tests for blood cancer because my skin has been changed and I have more hemoglobin. Please advice
In our modern life, cancer is the most dreaded disease of all. Despite substantial advances in medical science, there hasn't been much of a progress in the treatment available for cancer. The mortality rate for cancer is still on the rise and all this, in spite of all kinds of sophisticated treatments at our disposal.
Cancer is rather a torturous experience, not merely on account of the terminal consequence, but also of the extreme physical and emotional suffering that one has to endure. What's worse is that often all the efforts are rendered vain. In that context, a large number of people have started looking towards alternative therapies as a cure for cancer. Serious forms of cancers like blood cancer or leukemia are often formidable and do not respond favourably to the clinical treatments. Consequently, despite all attempts and humongous investments, the casualties are on the rise. To counter such threats, people are growingly moving towards alternative remedies. Among the other natural cures, Ayurveda has garnered a lot of interest and approval.
Ayurveda has devised a holistic process that potentially cures you of blood cancer and endows you with a fresh leash of life. As per Ayurveda, the main causes of cancer may be enumerated as genetic imbalances, exposure to harmful radiation, stressful and unhealthy lifestyle and consumption of degenerating food items. As such, Ayurveda tries to heal not just the disease but also the germ of the disease and in the process, improves your well-being.
Ayurveda grapples with blood cancer in the following ways:
- Adjuvant to ongoing treatment: You may be skeptical of depending entirely on Ayurveda as a remedy for cancer. As such, Ayurvedic treatments may be used as ancillaries alongside the ongoing chemotherapy and radiology. Ayurveda stimulates your in built immunity and thus prolongs and rejuvenates your lifespan. That aside, the natural benefits that Ayurveda provides your body reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and help in complete remission of the disease.
- Rasashastra: Ayurveda deems the imbalance in your genetic code to be the main cause of cancer. Therefore, it believes that remedy lies in 'pitta' restoration. Under this treatment, Ayurveda uses a combination of metals vis-a-vis the purest elements to minimize the deterioration of the condition. A unique combination of silver, gold and other essential minerals can be wondrous to boost the immunity of the cells and restore the normal cell production rate in your marrows. This goes a long way in obliterating the damage caused by blood cancer.
- The right diet: Consuming the most favourable foods are essential while battling cancer. An alkaline diet comprising of coconut water, warm, fresh nutritious food like leafy greens, apples and nuts must be regularly consumed. Greasy, spicy and lavish dishes should be avoided since they are known to generate harmful 'ama' in your body. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ayurveda.