Bowel cancer is an umbrella term used for any cancer that affects the colon and rectum. Cancer starts as a benign, innocent growth of small cherry-like stalks on the intestines and rectum.
Almost everyone grows these polyps as we get older. Most of them are actually benign and not a precursor to cancer. A certain polyp called adenoma can become cancerous however.
If left untreated, the cancer cells begin to multiply and form a tumor in the bowel which causes pain, bleeding and several other symptoms. The tumor may grow into the wall of the bowel and back passage. If it passes through the wall into the blood, cancer can travel and spread to other parts of the body. Usually, the tumor ends up in the liver or lungs and deteriorates their function.
Colorectal Cancer Statistics
The bowel cancer research statistics show that bowel cancer is fatal. However, there is a decent chance of survival after treatment.
There are an estimated 16,682 cases of colorectal cancer cases diagnosed in Australia in 2017. The bowel cancer affects roughly 12% of all cancer patients.
More than 4000 people died from bowel cancer in 2017 which comes to 8.6% of all cancer deaths for the year.
The chance of survival, five years after treatment is 69%. There were roughly 52,630 colorectal cancer survival patients living in Australia during 2017 who had been diagnosed from 2008 to 2012. An estimated 129,497 people were alive who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the last 31 years.
There are several ways to treat bowel cancer. Some of them have proven effective but considered risky due to side effects. This is why research is still going on to find methods that can completely cure bowel cancer without damaging the regular functioning of the body.
This is the most commonly used method for treatment of bowel cancer. The patient is prepared at the hospital before a team of surgeons removes the tumor with an operation.
Surgery is effective for treatment at the early stage of cancer. If the tumor has grown bigger, then chemo and radiation therapy are used for treatment.
Potent chemical drugs are injected into the patient’s body to destroy the excess growth of tumors. The drugs used in chemotherapy can also kill cells in the adjacent regions and patients require 3 to 4 weeks to recover.
Human cells exposed to extreme cold can freeze and break up. This idea is implemented to destroy tumors through cryosurgery. A hollow needle called cryoprobe is placed next to the tumor and liquid nitrogen is circulated through a connected tube which freezes and breaks the kills the malignant cells.
High energy radio waves are targeted at the tumor to burn and destroy it. Radiation and chemotherapy are often used together to effectively kill the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy affects useful cells in the body just as much as cancer cells. Targeted therapy uses drugs that affect specific cancer cells without damaging the normal cells. This treatment is recommended for people who are very old or too weak to go through the effects of chemotherapy.