Rectal cancer: symptoms, stages, treatment
Cancer of the rectum is diagnosed in the late stages of its development, which in most cases ends in a fatal outcome.This is due to the fact that the considered form of intestinal cancer for a long time is asymptomatic, and even the patients are frankly embarrassed to consult a doctor with such a delicate problem.Meanwhile, there are a number of precursors of rectal cancer, in which every person should seek medical help.Table of contents:
Factors predisposing to the development of rectal cancer
Before the disease in question begins its progression, several factors must be brought together - they are called predisposing in medicine.
- the presence in the family of a similar disease in one of the relatives;
- the presence of a rare genetic disease adenomatous family polyposis, which always turns into rectal cancer;
- diagnosed in the family and inherited Lynch syndrome is a common genetic mutation.
Bowel diseases occurring in chronic form
During the research it was found that in some cases chronic intestinal pathologies lead to the development of colon cancer. Among the most dangerous diseases are:
- Crohn's disease;
- ulcerative colitis;
- motor dyskinesia, irritable bowel syndrome and any pathologies that cause impaired intestinal contents;
- tumors of the rectum of a benign character;
- proctitis of chronic course;
- Whipple's disease.
Incorrect way of life
Many people try not to pay attention to the recommendations of doctors about nutrition, the need for presence in the life of physical activity, the rejection of bad habits.And completely in vain, because the wrong way of life can provoke the development of colon cancer. The most dangerous factors:
- insufficient fiber in the diet - it is found in vegetables, fruits and grains, which must be present in the menu of each person;
- abundant use of flour products, spicy, fatty foods;
- uncorrected meal schedule - rare, but in large quantities of eating;
- smoking - this harmful habit refers to a nonspecific factor;
- consumption in large quantities and constantly alcoholic beverages.
Note: is predominant in the public opinion that hemorrhoids contribute to the development of colon cancer - this is a misconception.There is not a single research result that would confirm this theory.
Stages of rectal cancer
Malignant tumor of the rectum has a clear classification in medicine. First, there is a division of the disease at the site of its localization in the rectum:
- Amplant neoplasm - the cancer progresses in the middle part of the rectum.This is the most common localization, and the first characteristic symptom will be bleeding from the anus.
- An unpopular neoplasm - a tumor located in the uppermost part of the rectum, this type of cancer for a long time is asymptomatic, and it is detected when patients enter the clinic with acute intestinal obstruction.
- Anorectal neoplasm - the cancer develops directly above the sphincter, near the anal opening.This type of cancer has early symptoms - there are constant pains that can not be removed even with strong pain medication.
Secondly, as the cancer spreads into the colonic tissue of the rectum, an additional classification will be made. There are 5 main stages of colon cancer :
- 0 - Cancer cells are located only in the mucous layer of the organ;
- 1 - the tumor begins to progress and spreads to the muscular layer of the rectum;
- 2 - Cancer is actively growing and begins to penetrate through the walls of the rectum, can affect the bladder, the vagina and uterus in women, the prostate in men;
- 3 - cancer cells have spread throughout the body, metastases are found in the lymph nodes;
- 4 - Cancer cells are found in various organs and systems, even if they are located far from the rectum.Thirdly, doctors classify colorectal cancer by the state of the tumor cells - how much they look like healthy:
- highly differentiated cells - when examined it turns out that about 90% of neoplastic cells have a normal structure,Not cancerous;
- medium-differentiated - of all cells only 50% are atypical;
- low-grade - up to 90% of all cells are atypical;
- undifferentiated - no healthy cells are found among tumor cells.
The less differentiated cells in a tumor, the faster a malignant tumor grows and the more difficult it is to treat.
Symptoms of developing colon cancer
In general, the signs of bowel cancer are always variable - they depend on several factors. Depending on the location of the tumor:
- In anorectal location, the patient will be disturbed by the constantly present pain of the pricking nature, which is amplified in the sitting position.Such patients will be characterized by a "stool" type landing - they try to sit on one of the buttocks.
- In the case of an ampulla and an unpublished location of the neoplasm, the disease is manifested by the presence of blood and mucus in the stool.And, the blood is mixed with feces and looks like veins.A distinctive feature of such bleeding is that the patient does not experience pain.
Depending on the stage of development of colon cancer:
0-1 stage. The symptoms of an intestinal disorder are necessarily present:
- constipation and / or diarrhea;
- flatulence and bloating;
- Incontinence of gases, in rare cases - incontinence;False desires for defecation.
Note: if a malignant tumor grows directly into the rectal cavity, it can lead to intestinal obstruction, large amounts of fecal matter and rupture of the intestine, which results in a peritonitis.
2nd stage. There is a pronounced pain syndrome, which is not removed even by powerful analgesic drugs.There is an intoxication of the body - increased body temperature, general weakness, dizziness, decreased attention, increased sweating.Such symptoms can be present for several months in a row with periods of exacerbation and subthreshold.
3rd stage. The patient quickly loses weight, although the diet is preserved in full, reduced efficiency, there are complaints of constant weakness.
4 stage .There is a disruption of the work of the whole organism - the insufficiency of the organ that is affected by malignant cells develops.
How is rectal cancer diagnosed
If a doctor suspects the disease in question from his patient, he will prescribe a full examination of the rectum.In the framework for the diagnosis of rectal cancer, the following activities are carried out:
- Colonoscopy with biopsy .A special instrument examines the rectum - assesses the condition of its walls, determines the presence of the tumor, the doctor can even establish the size and prevalence level of the lesion.Simultaneously with a colonoscopy, a biopsy is also performed-the sampling of the tumor fragment for histological examination in the laboratory.
- Magnetic resonance imaging .This is one of the most important examinations of the patient, because it allows not only to confirm the diagnosis, but also to find out how deeply the tumor has penetrated into the intestinal tissue, the size of the malignant neoplasm, and the structure of the organ tissues.
- Ultrasound examination of the abdominal cavity .It is performed to detect metastases in organs and systems of the abdominal cavity.
Only after the doctor has made the final diagnosis, the patient will be selected / assigned a treatment regimen.
Treatment of rectal cancer
Modern medicine recommends the treatment of the disease in three stages:
- preoperative radiotherapy or chemotherapy;
- surgical intervention;
- postoperative chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
This type of treatment is performed for each patient, regardless of the stage at which the development of colon cancer occurs.Radiation or chemotherapy can stop the progression of the tumor, stop its growth and spread.
It is worth knowing that if the disease under consideration is diagnosed in the early stages of development, then the patient is only given radiation therapy, but in more severe stages of the pathology, chemotherapy is also added to radiation therapy.
In medicine, there are different methods of removing cancerous growth of the rectum - in each case the optimal variant is selected.The surgeon will try to save the patient's bowel - this will facilitate the further life of the patient, will allow to return to a relatively familiar rhythm, but this is possible only with the operation of cancer of early stages of development( 0-1).
If the patient is diagnosed with 4 stages of rectal cancer, then surgery is performed only with intestinal obstruction.
Rectal cancer: after operation
If the operation was performed at stage 0-1 of rectal cancer, then no post-operative treatment is performed.At later stages, the patient is shown radiation and chemotherapy for 3-6 months.
Note: only an oncologist can make decisions about the advisability of carrying out a particular method of treating colorectal cancer.
After the treatment of the disease in question and the conditioned recovery, the patient should visit the doctor for a few more years for preventive examinations - it is important not to miss the moment of relapse.
The prognosis of the disease is variable - if the diagnosis was carried out at an early stage of development of colorectal cancer, the predictions can be quite favorable, in all other cases the dynamics of the pathology can not be predicted, all individually.History knows cases when diagnosed cancer of the rectum, even at the 2-3 stages of development, the patients lived for several decades.But about the 4 stages of the disease, doctors say unequivocally - more than 5 years, live with this diagnosis, only 5% of patients.
Tsygankova Yana Aleksandrovna, medical reviewer, therapeutist of the highest qualification category.