KOCHI: The rising number of colorectal cancer cases in the state, especially in the age group of 30-40 years, is causing serious concern amongst medical experts. A larger number of young patients in India are affected by colorectal cancer and most of them are being diagnosed only at an advanced stage. Oncologists say that people need to be fully aware of this risk and get screened regularly if in a higher risk group. Experts opine that underlying factors leading to the rise in cases, especially at this age, could be lifestyle, environment and genetic factors.
“Though we have no authentic records to show the statistics of rising cases, we have been observing a trend here. Our changing lifestyle is most likely to blame for the rise in colorectal cancer cases amongst younger people, though hereditary reasons are also a major cause. Screening at early stages is the most important factor following which proper treatment can be undertaken, if detected,” said oncologist Dr Arun R Warrier, in a press conference held at Kochi.
He also added that colorectal cancer cases are usually reported among those above the age of 60 years and that with early detection, it is highly treatable and manageable. Possible symptoms of colorectal cancer include persistent digestive problems, rectal bleeding, bloody stools, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and noticeable changes in bowel movement.
“Most medical groups recommend routine screening after the age of fifty. Patients approaching doctors at a younger age with such symptoms are not usually advised for screening, as they diagnose it as piles or ulcers. Doctors too must be aware of this disturbing trend in colorectal cancer affliction,” said Dr Arun.
Routine screening would cost between Rs 2,000 - Rs 3,000. “In the case of colorectal cancer, surgery is possible even at Stage IV. In private hospitals, the overall cost of treatment including surgery would be around Rs 3 lakh,” said surgical gastroenterologist Dr Prakash K.
Possible symptoms of colorectal cancer include persistent digestive problems, rectal bleeding, bloody stools, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and noticeable changes in bowel movement.