Rectal Cancer Awareness
Rectal cancer awareness is very important to understand the severity and nature of the cancerous development in the rectum. The cancer is one of the most dangerous cancers worldwide and may spread to vital areas like colon. Colon and rectal cancer is together known as colorectal cancer and is the third most common cancer worldwide. The disease is more common in developed nations with more than 60% of the overall cases detected in such areas.
What is rectal cancer awareness?
Rectum is a vital part of the human digestive system (located at the end of the colon) and its main function is to sort out nutrients like minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, water, proteins and fast from the food and forward the waste matter for elimination. Efficient functioning of the rectum is extremely important for smooth digestion process and also helps in proper bowel movements.
Awareness about rectal cancer talks about various aspects of the disease while focusing primarily on the early signs and risk factors of the cancerous development in the rectum. Awareness can be through various modes like online counseling, seminars, help lines, support groups, workshops, free medical check-ups, etc. publications of articles through newspapers and magazines is also a kind of awareness movement.
Most of the deaths related to rectal cancer occur due to late detection or inefficient treatment of the polyps. Chances of curing the tumors are highest in the first stage and decrease considerably once the tumors begin to metastasize and reach an advanced stage. Treatments become severe and complicated as the disease progresses into advanced stages. This puts a bad impact on the victim's body and may also cause permanent problems in his normal body movements.
Awareness about rectal cancer also focuses on the curative as well as preventive measures to avoid cancerous attack in the rectum or prevent rectal cancer recurrence. Its main focus is to educate people about proper detection and diagnosis of the disease so that the tumors are treated in time thereby increasing the life expectancy of the victim.
Rectal cancer awareness in detail
Causes for rectal cancer form the basis of awareness about the disease. Age is an important factor related to the disease as the infection is more prevalent in people above 50 years. The number of cases occurring in men and women are almost same and the disease is more common in developed and industrialized countries. Risk of occurrence of the disease increases with age and has a high chance of recurrence if not treated properly or in the early phases.
Family history and personal background of rectal or other kinds of cancer may put the person at a huge risk. Also the persons treated for the disease in the past have a high chance of being susceptible to recurrence in rectal cancer. Presence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) may worsen the case and increase the pace of cancer metastasis if not treated in time.
Smoking, consuming diet rich in red-meat and fat contents, alcoholism, low intake of vitamin B, faulty dietary pattern and inflammatory bowel disease can raise the risk of cancerous presence in the rectum.
Early signs play an important role in better diagnosis and start the relevant treatment at the earliest. Change in bowel movements, pains in the abdominal areas, unjustified loss of weight, diarrhea and blood in stools are some of the most common symptoms. Some may also experience unusual complications in digestion of food, frequent and severe stomach aches, ulcers or infections in the rectal or adjacent areas and anal bleeding. All such symptoms need to be diagnosed urgently to avoid spread of tumor cells.
Diagnosis pattern of the disease may vary from case to case and usually depends upon the health of the victim. A victim suffering for other health complications may not necessarily follow the pattern same as that of a person without any such complications. Some of the important diagnosis tests include Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), biopsy, endorectal ultrasound, barium enema, sigmoidoscope and fecal occult blood test. Basic tests like X-rays and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans are also important to trace tumors in the rectum.
Treatments of rectal cancer are the same as used in other forms of cancer. Surgery is the most fundamental treatment used to remove tumors if they are restricted to a certain area and do not exhibit metastatic behavior. Treating tumors through chemicals is advantageous to treat the polyps in the middle stages of the disease. Radiation therapy is the most advanced and stern form of treatment that is usually recommended if other form of treatments are inefficient or insufficient to cure the tumors. Same treatments are also applicable to rectal cancer recurrence but the pattern and intensity may change according to the scope of cancerous growth.
Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of rectal cancer comprising more than 95% of the overall cases. Incidence of the occurrence of disease is more in black race as compared to the white ones and so is the death rate. The cancer develops and progresses in four different stages. First stage is the most lenient stage where the malignant cells restrict themselves to a particular area. Life expectancy is the highest in this stage and the 5-year survival rate is as high as 90%. Life expectancy of the patient gradually decreases as the disease advances into higher stages and the survival rate drops to less than 35% in the last stage. Thus, detection of tumors in the early stages is vital for reliable and efficient cure.
Rectal cancer awareness is very helpful in guiding a person to undergo a thorough medical diagnosis if he comes across any of the early signs. Knowledge about risk factors helps a person to lead a healthy and apt lifestyle and avoid habits that may make him the soft target of cancer cells. Proper understanding about the treatment minimizes the sufferings of the victim and maximizes the chances of fast and better recovery. Strong immune is very important to resist cancerous development.