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How Experts Use the Latest Techniques to Diagnose and Treat Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is estimated to affect approximately 146,000 people in the United States in 2019. The cancer occurs when the rectum or colon’s inner lining grows abnormal cells. Patients with colorectal cancer exhibit common symptoms, such as:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal or rectal pain
  • Mucus, at times mixed with blood
  • Constant urge to go to the bathroom
  • Continued change in bowel habits

The techniques used for diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer are improving each year. About 10 to 20 years earlier, most of these techniques didn’t exist or were in their early stages.

Diagnosing for colorectal cancer

Typically, the diagnosis of colorectal cancer is done through fecal tests and virtual colonoscopy. Diagnosis via fecal tests may include:

  • Fecal occult blood test: The test is used to check for any blood in stool, which the naked eye may not see, and it may signal the presence of cancer or polyps. These tests require dietary restrictions, several stool samples, are affordable and usually carried out annually.
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT): This test screens for blood that usually originates from the colon and rectum. The only downside of this test is that it does not work well for smaller polyps.
  • Fecal DNA test: The test confirms both fecal DNA and blood, and can detect more than 90% of colorectal cancer. Besides, it can detect more polyps than an FIT test. This test is required after every three years, and is costlier than the other fecal tests.

Treating colorectal cancer

Typically, colorectal cancer is treated via minimally invasive methods, including laparoscopic surgery, which involves the removal of rectal or colon cancer by placing some instruments in the abdomen and making a relatively small incision to remove the colon.

Sometimes, chemotherapy or radiation is used pre-or post-surgery to treat possible cancer cells that may have been left due to their small size.

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