Cancer

Bowel Cancer

Description

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that starts in the large bowel. It can also be in small bowel as well, but chances are very rare. Depending upon the location, where cancer actually starts we name it as rectal cancer or colour cancer.

 

Symptoms and Causes

Most people have the following symptoms.

  • An insistent change in bowel habit that causes the patient to go to the toilet frequently.
  • Blood in the stools without other haemorrhoid symptoms like soreness, discomfort, pain, itching or a lump hanging down outside the back passage.
  • Pain in the abdomen, discomfort or bloating that is always activated by eating, and at times, resulting in a decrease in the amount of food eaten and weight loss.

There are several factors that cause bowel cancer. They are age, family history, diet, smoking, alcohol, obesity, inactivity and digestive disorder.

Diagnosis

To diagnose bowel cancer, the general practitioner will observe the patient and refer you to a specialist for further tests. The tests will be subject to your particular situation and may contain general tests to check your overall health and body function. A CT (computerized tomography) scan makes use of x-ray beams, and computer technology to make a detailed, cross-sectional picture of the inside of the body. Before the scan, dye is inserted into a vein to make the pictures clearer. Faecal occult blood (FOB) test and bowel scope screening are other tests specifically used in finding bowel cancer.

Treatment

  • Surgery: There are different types of surgery for bowel cancer. The purpose of surgery is to eliminate the cancer and neighbouring lymph nodes. The most common type of surgery is called a colectomy. There are various kinds of colectomies depending on the location of the cancer and how much of the bowel is removed.
  • Chemotherapy: If you have chemotherapy, the drugs may be injected into a vein or given in tablet form. Few people have a small medical appliance called a port-a-cath or infusaport placed underneath their skin through which they receive chemotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy: New drugs called targeted therapies are utilized for bowel cancer merely when the disease is advanced. These drugs work differently from chemotherapy drugs by preventing the development of cancer cells while decreasing harm to healthy cells.
  • Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy uses high-energy x-rays or radiation to damage cancer cells. The radiation is targeted to cancer sites in your body, and treatment is cautiously planned to do as little harm as possible to your normal body tissue around the cancer.

Complications

  • Diarrhoea
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drop in blood cells count
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Mild headaches and nausea
  • Sore Skin

 

Post-operative Care

  • After the surgery is over the patient will remain in the recovery room for a few hours to make sure that the patient is stable.
  • After coming to the ward, the patient will have a drip in the arm to substitute fluids and may have a tube into your bladder (catheter) for a day or two.
  • The team will encourage the patient to walk several times in a day. Patient should also do frequent leg exercises (rotating the feet and pushing the feet up and down) while sitting in the chair or lying in bed.
  • The patient will be given a special soft diet.

After the treatment is over, you will have regular checkups.