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Colorectal Cancer: Is your Gut Healthy?
Colorectal Cancer has been emerging as one of the most prevalent forms of cancer out of changing life styles and eating habits (apart from the genetic predisposition). This thread is aimed at throwing light on all aspects of Colorectal Cancer and encouraging healthy discussions on the same.

What is Colorectal Cancer?
It is a form of Cancer that affects the 'Colon' and/ or Rectal regions of the large intestine. In severe form, following is how it may appear:
[Image: Polyposis.jpg]
Image courtesy: wikimedia

What are the colon and rectal regions of the intestine? | Understanding Colorectal Cancer
Colon is commonly known as 'Large Intestine' as well, though both colon and rectum are part of Large Intestine. Colon is the region where water is absorbed and remaining waste material is stored as feces. In the typical diagram of the digestive system, Large intestine (or colon) surrounds the longer (small) intestine.
Rectum is the final section of the large intestine just before anal region where feces are temporarily stored. Following image should explain it all:
Following is a representational image depicting the cancerous growths at Colorectal regions:
[Image: 320px-Blausen_0246_ColorectalCancer.png]
Courtesy: wikimedia

What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer? | Understanding Colorectal Cancer

It often starts with change in the bowel habits i.e :
a) Rectal bleeding while passing feces
b) In-consistent and narrowed stools (due to partial intestinal blockage by the tumor)
c) Blackish bowel movements (also called Melena)
d) Mucus in the stool due to excess discharge by the epithelial cells
e) Persistent diarrhea or constipation
f) Feeling a filled gut despite passing the stools
h) Frequent need to pass stools especially 'immediately after meals'
i) Problem of persistent gas/ bloating/ fullness and cramps in abdomen  
j) Feeling a lump in abdomen
k) Feeling of nausea/ vomiting/ loss of appetite/ fatigue
l) Weight loss and anaemia due to blood loss in abdomen
m) Frequent urinary tract infection due to perforation of the epithelium/ inner lining of abdomen
Quote:Cancer in ascending colon usually results in Black, tarry bowel movements, called Melena.
While cancerous growths in descending (left-side) colon or rectum result in rectal bleeding (blood mixed or coated on stools).

How does it feel in Later Stages of Colorectal Cancer | Understanding Colorectal Cancer

Advanced Colorectal cancer can be characterized by its spread to other organs of the body leading to some or all of the following symptoms:
Abdominal Pain that can't be tolerated
  • Ascites i.e build of fluids in abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Hepatomegaly or enlarged Liver
  • Hip/ buttock pains
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Appetite loss

Article under development

Sunil Nagpal
MS(Research) Scholar, IIT Delhi (Alumnus)
Advisor for the Biotech Students portal (
Computational Researcher in BioSciences at a leading MNC

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There has been a long discussion about screening for colorectal cancer in terms of, when exactly is the appropriate time to screen? Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women, after prostate cancer and lung cancer in men and breast and lung cancers in women. It is recommended by the American Cancer Society that screening should begin at age 50 in both men and women. However should you have an increased risk, such as a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, a family history of polyps, colorectal cancer or any hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes (Familial adenomatous polyposis {FAP} or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer {HNPCC}) then screening should be done at 40 years of age.

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