Bengaluru– Excessive consumption of red meat, refined sugar, and spicy food increases the risk of colorectal cancer, as per experts.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) data, colon cancer is the fourth most prevalent cancer in Indian males and the fifth most common cancer in Indian women.
Dr Sandeep Nayak P, Director – Department of Surgical Oncology and Robotic and Laparoscopic Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru states that Indian colorectal cancer scenario is different from that of the West.
“We have more rectal cancer (64 per cent) than colonic cancer (36 percent). Incidences are the exact reverse of this. This could be due to genetic differences between the Indian and western populations. However, what this means is that many more patients would be offered a permanent stoma (bag to drain stools) than in the west,” Dr Sandeep Nayak P. states.
“It is well established that diet affects the risk of colorectal cancer. In a study that I conducted between 2003 and 2005, I found consumption of red meat, refined sugar, and spicy food increased the risk of colorectal cancer,” Dr Sandeep Nayak explains.
Subsequently, many international studies showed similar results. The World Health Organization has declared refined sugar and processed meat like sausages as carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). This is an important development as many food items use a large quantity of sugar to improve the taste. People should be careful about what they eat.
Dr Sandeep Nayak stated, unlike colon cancer, rectal cancer requires a distinct treatment plan. In most cases, radiation therapy is required before surgery for the rectal. By having this procedure, the anus is typically saved and a persistent stoma is avoided. Stoma can be avoided in more than 75 per cent of rectal cancer patients as per many researches that have been conducted.
However, it is unfortunate to note that most patients end up with a permanent stoma as the skills required to perform this sphincter-saving surgery called ISR are lacking in most of the centers. We need to build the skill among the surgeons to perform such complex work. In the past two years, we have performed more than 50 ISRs, and the patients are happy to have their natural passage saved, he explained.
Dr Pragna Sagar Rapole S, Consultant – Radiation Oncology, CARE Hospitals, HITEC City, Hyderabad, statesthat colorectal cancer is a serious disease that can have devastating effects on the lives of those who are affected by it. It is a type of cancer that develops in the colon or rectum, and it can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.
Fortunately, there are many steps that individuals can take to reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can significantly lower the risk of developing this disease, Dr Pragna Sagar explains.
It’s important to note that although colorectal cancer is a common disease, it is not always easy to detect. Symptoms may not appear until the cancer has progressed, making early detection even more critical, Dr Pragna warns.
That’s why it’s essential for individuals to discuss screening options with their healthcare provider and be vigilant about any changes in their digestive health. By taking proactive steps to reduce risk factors and undergoing regular screening, individuals can take charge of their health and reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer. Remember, early detection and prevention are key in the fight against this disease, Dr Pragna advises.
Dr Govind Nandakumar, Consultant – Surgical Gastroenterology, Laparoscopic, GI Onco Surgery, Manipal Hospital Yeshwanthpur and Millers Road says, colorectal cancer is a cancer that can be prevented and cured, and early detection is key.
Symptoms may include bleeding with bowel movements, constipation, change in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, and anaemia, Dr Govind Nandakumar states.
By performing a simple colonoscopy early on, we can remove polyps and prevent colorectal cancer from developing. If diagnosed early, colon cancer can be cured with surgery. Minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery techniques have made it possible for patients to be discharged early, and recovery time is shortened, he said.
Even if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, or peritoneum, there is still hope for a cure. It’s important not to ignore any warning signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer, Dr Nandakumar says.
March is celebrated as the Colorectal Cancer awareness month. (IANS)