Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a disease resulting from the abnormal and out-of-control growth of some cells that line the colon or the rectum.

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer 

See a doctor if the symptoms continue for at least 4 weeks. It is also important to confirm the reason behind the symptoms as they are not exclusive to those with colorectal cancer.

  • Changes in bowel habits such as constipation, diarrhea, stool consistency, narrower stools, bowel incontinence and incomplete evacuation or the feeling that the bowel does not empty itself completely.
  • Rectal bleeding, dark or bright red blood in the stool. Sometimes, the stool looks black.
  • Frequent abdominal discomfort due to cramps, gas or pain, bloating or feeling full in the abdomen, even a while after eating.
  • Frequent fatigue and tiredness.
  • Anemia (iron deficiency) and unexplained weight loss.

Colorectal cancer is usually found in people who are over 50 years old. Around 90% of patients diagnosed to have colorectal cancer are at least 50 years old.

Causes 

Most colon cancer develops from adenomatous polyps, the noncancerous or benign tumors that grow on the inner walls of the large intestine. After some time, some of these polyps become malignant colon cancer that will spread to other areas of the body through the blood and the lymph nodes.

It is not clear why some people are more prone to colorectal cancer than the others. The diet could be one important reason since the colon and the rectum are parts of the digestive system.  Processed meats, alcohol and food that are high in fat and low in fiber content have been linked to colorectal cancer.

Diagnosis of colorectal cancer

Many people don’t experience signs and symptoms in the early stages of their colorectal cancer.  That’s why annual screening for people over 50 years old is recommended.

Screening can find polyps before they become cancerous as well as diagnose colorectal cancer at its early stages when the survival rates are still high.

The expected survival rate for five years from colorectal cancer treated at stage 0 is over 90%. The survival rate drops to 65 – 80% if colorectal cancer is treated when it’s already at stage 2 and 11% at stage 4.

Your doctor may recommend which of the following most common screening and diagnostic procedures for colorectal cancer you should undergo.

  • Sigmoidoscopy using rigid or flexible sigmoidoscope.

The examination of the internal surface of the colon and rectum with a sigmoidoscope, the lighted instrument inserted through the anus for the visual examination of the sigmoid colon (the part of the large intestines, about 35-40 cm long that leads to the rectum).

  • Diagnostic laparoscopy or exploratory laparoscopy

A viewing tube with a camera (laparoscope) is inserted through a small incision in the abdominal wall to examine, perform minor surgery or take tissue samples for biopsy from the colon and other abdominal organs. The doctor views the image of the area under examination on a video monitor.

  • Imaging Tests

Ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans, also called imaging tests, use x-rays, sound waves, magnetic fields, or radioactive substances to create images of internal parts of the body.

  • Barium enema (irrigoscopy)

This is an X-ray examination using barium as contrast dye, to create a clearer image of the colon, rectum or the small intestines.

  • Colonoscopy

This procedure uses the colonoscope which is a long, slender, flexible tube with a video camera ((like a longer sigmoidoscope) and viewed on a monitor to see tumors or polyps in the colon and rectum,

  • Computed tomographic (CT) colonography

This procedure, also called CTC, virtual colonoscopy(VC) or CT pneumocolon is a specialized X-ray or CT scan using low dose radiation to detect the presence of polyps, tumors and other abnormalities in the colon and rectum.

  • Stool Blood Test, Stool DNA test

This is the analysis if there is blood or DNA markers coming from precancerous polyps or colon cancers in the stool.

Stages

The stage of cancer defines how far it has spread. The stages in colorectal cancer are also expressed in numbers 0 to 4. Stage 0 is the earliest stage or carcinoma in situ because the cancer is still within the inner layer of the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer in Stage 4 has spread from the colon and rectum to the liver, the ovaries and other parts of the body.

Treatment

There is no standard treatment for colorectal cancer. Like other types of cancer, the treatment is dictated by the cancer stage, the location, whether it’s recurring or newly diagnosed and the patient’s overall health status.

The treatment, which usually includes surgerychemotherapy and radiotherapy, may be performed or managed by a team that usually include the medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and the colorectal or general surgeons and surgical oncologist.

Why people would like to have their colorectal cancer treatments in Turkey?  

Turkey enjoys a reputation as a top medical tourism destination in Europe. It can offer well-equipped hospitals and highly-qualified, experienced doctors for simple or critical illnesses at much lower costs compared to those in other European countries and the USA.

It is also easy to find information online about doctors, hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Turkey.

Turkey has good cardiologists / and hospitals 

Early detection and treatment are very important factors in the success of colorectal cancer treatments. However, signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer don’t show at its early stage when the survival rate is still high.

Public and private healthcare facilities in Turkey have well-trained personnel as well as state-of-the-art medical equipment and the latest technology for detection of colorectal cancer at its early stage. They have to because the country’s Ministry of Health (MOH) puts importance to standardization to international standards and accreditation with organizations such as the Joint Commission International (JCI).

A study on Turkey’s medical tourism reports that hospitals in Turkey implement the “comprehensive approach” in treating colorectal cancer. This approach provides the patient with the collective expertise needed to achieve a high success rate in colorectal cancer treatment.

It is more affordable in Turkey compared to most countries, especially Europe and US

According to an assessment of Turkey’s medical tourism, colorectal cancer treatment in Turkey costs as much as 40-50 percent lower than the cost in the US, Canada or the UK. One factor for the lower cost could be Turkey’s incentives like a tax allowance for medical tourism investments.

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