Colorectal cancer: the main risk factors

Colorectal cancers are among the most common oncological diseases in the two sexes. They occur mainly after the age of 50, especially in subjects belonging to families with particular incidence of this pathology. Dr. Guido Ricevuto, expert in General Surgery in Trapani, Palermo and Alcamo, talks about it

What are the main risk factors for colorectal cancer?

Recognized risk factors, beyond familiarity, are constipation , some chronic inflammatory diseases, obesity, smoking, high fat and protein diet regimes .

Unfortunately, these tumors do not always occur early through bleeding. There are cases that occur late and come to the doctor with a picture of intestinal obstruction already .

Usually the earliest symptoms are represented by the uneven emission of blood with the stool, by changes in habits and the frequency of defecation, more rarely by abdominal pain or by symptoms related to the involvement of surrounding organs.

Precisely because of the inconstancy of an early symptomatology, screening programs are indicated for groups of the population at risk.

Is it possible to do prevention?

The best preventive method is the execution, after 50 years, of a rectal-colonoscopic examination, which, if negative, can be repeated after years with a frequency established by the doctor.

Unfortunately, this examination is invasive. Today there is the possibility of performing a less invasive examination, virtual colonoscopy , which represents a specific application of CT scan with an acceptable diagnostic value.

The traditional colonoscopy, however, allows in a single time both the diagnostic finding and the possible removal of pre-cancerous lesions, which represents the real preventive purpose of this method.

The use of the search for occult blood in the stool (SOF) is less useful due to the high frequency of false positives, which leads many patients to perform an invasive test that would otherwise be avoidable.

Colorectal cancer has ample opportunity for surgical treatment, which, in most cases, can guarantee a permanent solution to the cancer problem.

The resection of the colon traits does not represent a major functional deficit, in fact, allowing a normal diet and digestion of food, as well as fast recovery of normal intestinal transit.

Even in cases of late diagnosis, surgical treatment can be useful to avoid the evolution of the tumor towards the occlusion of the intestinal transit.

The use of permanent ostomies (diversion outside through the abdominal wall of the intestinal transit) is necessary only for the locations located in close proximity to the anal orifice. Vice versa, more frequent is the use of temporary ostomy called “protection”, which are kept in operation for a few weeks, in order to guarantee the healing of the intestinal reconstruction.


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