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Colorectal Cancer: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Nov 01, 2019

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is also known as rectal cancer. Colorectal cancer treatments are of various kinds but the most common form of treatment is surgery of the affected area. The surgery enables the removal of the tumor or the polyps and also the removal of the affected tissues in the rectum or the colon. These surgeries are mainly Laparoscopic surgery where specific viewing scopes are passed into the rectum or the colon where the patient is applied with anesthesia. This surgery is an efficient way to remove the cancer from the colon or the rectum. Certain procedures like colostomy also takes place where the colon is thoroughly checked and the cancer polyps are removed to ensure a proper pathway for waste exit of your body. There is no specific age group as to when you might suffer from colorectal cancer but this cancer mainly occurs at an older age. If you have a diet which is rich in spicy food and high calories then you need to ease up on them and maintain a cholesterol free healthy food and have a diet that is low in fiber. A lack of physical activity and obesity might lead to a chance of colorectal cancer. Polyps or cysts are developed in the inner linings of the colon and rectum which are to be removed by surgery.

How is the treatment done?

Colorectal cancer treatments are of various kinds but the most common form of treatment is surgery of the affected area. The surgery enables the removal of the tumor or the polyps and also the removal of the affected tissues in the rectum or the colon. These surgeries are mainly Laparoscopic surgery where specific viewing scopes are passed into the rectum or the colon where the patient is applied with anesthesia. This surgery is an efficient way to remove the cancer from the colon or the rectum. Certain procedures like colostomy also takes place where the colon is thoroughly checked and the cancer polyps are removed to ensure a proper pathway for waste exit of your body. Besides surgeries, you may need to seek help of therapies. Radiation therapy and chemotherapies help to kill the cancer cells that exist in the body. There are some side effects for therapies, but they depend from person to person. Some may face a few side effects and some may not. Doctors can also carry out a procedure of ablation. Ablation is a process by which it can destroy your tumor without surgery. Ablation is performed by a system of radiofrequency which is inserted in your body using a probe (medicinal needle) which are supported by CT scans.

Who is eligible for the treatment?

The treatment of colorectal cancer begins after proper diagnosis of the colon or the rectum. Often sometimes there might not be cancer polyps. The onset of the treatment begins when you start having a change in your bowel habits, diarrhea, constipation or continuous narrowing of the stool. The other symptoms which you might face involve bleeding of the rectum, abdominal agony, a feeling of nausea, weakness and fatigue. Colorectal cancer might also lead to unintentional weight loss. If you are facing these symptoms then you must contact your medical expert as soon as possible. Colorectal cancer pain must be eased with treatment as it also causes irritation while doing day to day work.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

There are various stages for the colorectal cancer. Usually in the first stage or the stage 0 involves just the removal of polyps from the inner linings of the colon or rectum. As the stages gradually increases the respective treatment should be taken care of. If you have low immune system then certain medications of the colorectal treatment are substituted with medicines which enable to edge out nausea, bleeding and irritation. Therapies are offered by medical experts who wish to avoid surgery and there is chance that the symptoms might come back again. Thus, you should also use an immune checkpoint inhibitor to keep it at a safe level.

Are there any side effects?

To cure colorectal cancer you sometimes need various therapies such as chemotherapies, radiation therapies. These therapies might have some side effects. The side effects may involve; vomiting, a sense of nausea, improper bowel movements (diarrhea), mouth sores etc. in addition to these side effects you may feel an usual sense of tiredness and you may also be prone to many infections when you are under these therapies. However, not everyone gets the side effects and if they do there might be a few. Other side effects that one can expect are hair loss, certain nerve damages and fertility problems. Always refer to your doctor if you need help to deal with the side effects.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There is always a possibility that cancer might come back after a certain period of the treatment course. The follow up care is necessary for you as it helps you to maintain good health and to avoid the signs of cancer re-occurrence. There should be constant check ups and regular tests. When there is a case of inherited colorectal cancer then you need to be extra cautious as there might be a chance that the cancer might re occur. Managing routine therapies are a must and also you need to keep in touch with your medical expert for remedies for side effects of the therapies. You should also maintain a healthy spice free diet and try to avoid smoking and drinking.

How long does it take to recover?

Any form of cancer takes time to recover, especially when there is a surgery involved. The colorectal cancer requires surgery in the colon or rectum, which lies in the abdominal area. The recovery time approximately takes two months to recover and the medication goes on for a while. You also need to maintain a healthy diet in order to recover properly and in a year you’re good to go. However, you are always required to keep your medical expert on call whenever you face with the symptoms again. You also need to keep a check on the cancer rejuvenation for a year or so.

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What is the price of the treatment in India?

Any form of cancer is expensive as it requires intense care throughout the treatment period. You need excellent periodic treatment and therapies in order to keep the signs of cancer to a limit. Till this day there has been no proven fact that cancer can be cured completely but it can be kept under control with proper healthcare. The cost of colorectal cancer depends stage by stage. Stage 1 patients may incur their costs including medicines and therapies range from Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 1,50,000 (annually). Stage 2 patients range from Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1,80,000 (annually). And stage 3 cancer patients incur costs up to Rs. 2,50,000 (annually).

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the treatment for colorectal cancer depend from person to person. With the usage of radiation therapies and chemotherapies some might face a lot of side effects whereas some face only a few. Till this day there is no complete remedy for cancer but with proper and continuous treatment the patients can live in a manner as if they never even had cancer. The results of the treatment are effective but that can only happen when the signs of cancer re-occurrence are monitored properly. In course of time the conditions improve and hence the medications, therapies are carried out in a relaxed manner.

References

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Written ByDr. Jagdish Shinde MD - Radiothrapy,MBBSOncology
Reviewed By
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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