Colon-rectum (large intestine) cancers are the malignant tumors resulting from the large intestine and its final section i.e. internal tissue (mucosa) of rectum. Surgeon Okay PIRTI, our General Surgery Specialist at the Private Corlu Vatan Hospital, indicated that 95 to 98 of each 100 patients that are identified earlier and treated properly continues their life healthily, and it is necessary to conduct fecal (stool) occult blood test for once every year starting from the age of 35 and to get colonoscopy check on all individuals for once when they reach the age of 50.
The best-known method in the occurrence of colon cancers is the change and conversion of the cells in the internal tissue of intestines into polyps (lumps) and then into malignant tumors. However, while polyps subsequently convert into cancer in certain individuals, such changes are not observed in certain individuals.
Surgeon Okay PIRTI, who said that 95 to 98 of each 100 patients identified at an early phase continue their lives healthily, also added: ‘‘In the second phase of cancer, ratio of survival 5 years following the treatment reaches 75 to 80 percent, and it is around 50 to 60 percent in the third phase and around 5 percent in the fourth phase. It is not easy to get these ratios in many cancer types. Therefore, the cases of colon-rectum cancer are recognized as the group of patients that give good response to treatment. ‘‘There are various options for treatment. First, the phase (prevalence) is determined. Then, assessment is made in terms of previous heart, lung and kidney problems, awareness and presence of psychiatric diseases of the patient, whether anal area functions in rectum tumors are appropriate or not, briefly the general condition of the patient. The first priority in the treatment of cancer is surgery. Radiotherapy is applied for rectum tumors and chemotherapy is applied for colon and rectum tumors in case of necessity. For the patients who lost the chance of treatment and who are in the very advanced phase; treatments are implemented to alleviate pain and ensure discharge of stool.
There are large intestine cancer families. Two types of them are very well known. In the type called ‘‘Polyposis coli’’, there are hundreds and thousands of polyps in large intestine. Starting from puberty, polyps emerge in colon-rectum mucosa and if they are not noticed, most of those polyps absolutely convert into cancer at the age of 25 to 30. It is a genetic disease. The second type is a family disease. The code of cancer is transmitted from one generation to the other generation and cancer develops in the subsequent generations. Colon-rectum cancer needs to be observed in two subsequent generations and the ages of patients need to be in earlier phase. Patients are classified in genetic and family colon cancer groups based on such criteria. In these genetic and family-related cancer types, it is significant to monitor the generations and to identify the disease at an early phase. There are also the most frequently observed, sporadic cancers. The significant factors behind these cancers are not eating fibrous foods, fast food habits, eating foods with high fat contents, being deprived of sunlight, working in industry, being exposed to radiation and impairment of the bowel tissue as a result of inflammatory bowel disease in which radiotherapy is applied in the abdominal area.
Surgeon Okay PIRTI said that although it is told in the public that colonoscopy, which is used to identify the polyps and tumors in the large intestine, is an uncomfortable test, it is actually very easy to apply, and added: “It is possible to view the polyps inside like strolling in the colon cavity based on the images taken by computerized tomography and using a special computer program’’. In this method that is known as virtual colonoscopy, polyps smaller than 5 millimeters could be neglected. Also, if the cleanliness of intestines is not sufficient, small stool residues can be assessed as polyp or tumor. Surgeon Okay PIRTI indicated that the identification accuracy of the classic colonoscopy is 90 to 95 percent while it is 80 to 85 percent in the virtual colonoscopy. The frequency of colon cancer increases in the both genders. Colon cancer is listed as one of the top three cancers that are mostly frequently observed in Turkey like in the entire world. Surgeon Okay PIRTI stated that men and women that completed the age of 50 must absolutely get colonoscopy for once, and further added: ‘‘It is possible to notice and identify the hidden and non-visible polyps by means of endoscopy and to prevent an early cancer by treating it. If any person has a history of colon cancer in his/her mother, father, sibling and close relatives, it is necessary to initiate colonoscopy examinations earlier. If the father or mother had colon cancer at the age of 45, we recommend to conduct colonoscopy check on the son or daughter at the age of 35’’.