Rectal Cancer Diagnosis
Rectal cancer diagnosis helps in early detection and proper examination of tumors and gives time for the patient to opt for the right kind and pattern of treatment. Early diagnosis also helps in minimizing the side-effects of the therapies undergone by treating the malignant infection in the most suitable way.
Why rectal cancer diagnosis?
Rectal cancer can be fatal if detected and diagnosed late. It grows gradually in the early phases but metastasizes at a high pace once it crosses the second stage. Survival rate of this disease is quite low in the last stage. Survival rate is calculated on the basis of diagnosis as it considers the approximate period for which a patient has lived after being diagnosed for polyp development in the rectal areas. Thus, proper and early diagnosis ensures fairly good survival rate.
Diagnosis is also important to ensure a high life expectancy and prognosis rate. Though these factors are calculated using scientific methods, diagnosis is the basis of the calculation and any delay in diagnosing tumors may decrease the life expectancy considerably. Cancer treatments to treat malignant tumors in the rectum or other adjacent areas are severe and depend on the reliability of diagnosis. Surgery for colon and rectal cancer is the best recommended cure for early phases but becomes less effective in the later stages. Radiation therapy is used widely to kill tumors in the advanced stages. Chemical treatment is also useful to tackle polyps in the later stages but may cause severe damage to areas adjacent to the infected ones.
Treatments may not only cause permanent harm to the victim's body but also create complications in the normal body movements. Also, the chances of recovering completely from the consequences of stern treatment depend mainly on the health and age of the person. Thus, early diagnosis of rectal is very important to avoid such complications in future.
The disease is more common in people above 50 and occurs in almost equal numbers in men and women. The chances of being vulnerable to cancer infection rise with age and also depend on other non-cancerous health issues a person might be suffering from. Pattern of abnormal cell-growth keeps changing from time to time and is greatly influenced by non-cancerous disorders. Viral infections like AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and HPV (Human Papillomavirus) may increase the pace of metastasis of the malignant tumors to a great extent and pose threats to other adjacent vital organs like colon, liver, bowel and kidney. The cancer may also spread to lungs and pose a serious threat to the victim's life.
Tumors can be of two main types as cancerous and non-cancerous and both have almost similar appearance. Hence, tracing infected cancerous tumors becomes difficult if the abnormality is diagnosed late or diagnosed using improper and inefficient diagnosis methods. Also, the cancerous cells spread at a rapid pace and tracing their origin as well as calculating the prognosis (rectal cancer prognosis) rate becomes difficult if diagnosis is not proper.
Hence, rectal cancer diagnosis is extremely important for better and safer treatment of the disease. Rectal cancer is highly prevalent in developed and industrialized nations and is less common in white men as compared to the black ones. Rectum and colon cancer together is also called as colorectal cancer and is the third most severe cancer. Almost 70% of the deaths occur due to untimely diagnosis. The survival rate is almost 90% in the first phase and drops to less than 25% in the last one. Thus, timely diagnosis plays a key role in decreasing rectal cancer-deaths worldwide.
Methods for rectal cancer diagnosis
Rectal cancer can be diagnosed using some of the advanced and reliable techniques along with the traditional methods like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan and CT (computed tomography) scan. X-rays are also useful to get a brief idea about the growth of tumors. Digital rectal exam (DRE) is one of the most significant diagnosis methods to examine tumors in the rectum. It is widely used as a preliminary examination method.
Fecal occult blood test (FOBT is another major form of test used to examine presence of blood in body waste or stools. Blood passage through stools is an important rectal cancer symptom and thus, the test is vital to be undergone.
Double contrast barium enema (DCBE) is a test where a victim to be examined takes an enema with barium solution and undergoes multiple X-rays of the rectal and colon areas.
Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy perform the function of examining internal areas of the rectum and colon, respectively. They may also enable the physician to take out a sample for examination and plan the further diagnosis process accordingly. Polypectomy is a surgical method used to eliminate polyps during the diagnosis process and can be carried out simultaneously with other diagnosis tests.
Biopsy is also useful to examine the rectal and other vital areas to detect presence or metastasis of tumors so that the treatment of rectal cancer can be planned accordingly.
Rectal cancer diagnosis needs to be reliable and timely. Numbers of rectal cancer deaths due to inefficient diagnosis are quite high. Thus, diagnosis process must also include implementation of the latest findings of research and breakthroughs related to rectal cancer and frequently cross-check the results of diagnosis process. Rectal cancer may develop at any age and regular examination of body is extremely necessary to avoid cancer development in the rectum. People who have family history of rectal or other kinds of cancer should be very particular about their health. Strong immune system not only helps in preventing cancer infection but also leads to optimum results during the diagnosis process.