Is colorectal cancer treatable in any way?

Colorectal cancer
Photo by Anete Lusina

When we hear the word “cancer”, we get cautious immediately. Considering that we perceive cancer to be a terminal illness requiring potent treatments. Colorectal cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer and the major cause of cancer-related death worldwide according to a study. The same study noted that Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore, and China had greater 5-year prevalence rates than those of the other Asian nations. This cancer that famously claimed the life of Black Panther star, Chadwick Boseman in 2020 is a cause of concern for healthcare professionals.

But do you know that colorectal cancer has a higher survival rate? For colon cancer, the survival rate is 91% if cancer is discovered in a localized stage. As for rectal cancer, 90% of patients who are diagnosed with cancer at an early stage will survive it as stated by These encouraging statistics aren’t the only positive news for colorectal cancer patients. Recently, a small rectal cancer medication study conducted in the US has produced hopeful results: tumours were discovered to have vanished in 100% of the study’s patients. It is heartening to know that advancements like this will eventually lessen the need for surgery and chemotherapy/radiotherapy for cancer patients. Nevertheless, we should arm ourselves with information on this cancer in the interim. After all, prevention still outweighs treatment. Let’s examine what colorectal cancer is, the different forms of treatment, and the prevention methods.

What is Colorectal cancer?

Singapore Cancer Society defines cancer of the colon or rectum (the large intestine before the anus) is called colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, rectal cancer, or bowel cancer. Most colorectal malignancies are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that produce mucus and other fluids). In Asia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia, has some of the highest rates of this cancer. Fortunately, over the past 15 years, there has been a decline in colorectal cancer fatalities. Because more people are undergoing routine screenings, which can aid in the early detection of colorectal cancer. The effectiveness of colorectal cancer treatments has also increased, particularly if the disease is detected early. Colorectal cancer has multiple causes, with the first sign being a polyp (an abnormal growth) that later transforms into a cancerous tumour.

Risk Factors of Colorectal cancer

People are more likely to get colorectal cancer if they have certain risk factors, which include:

  • People over 50 years of age
  • A family history of colon or rectum cancer
  • Previous history of colon polyps
  • A history of ulcerative colitis (ulcers in the lining of the large intestine) or Crohn’s disease
  • People who smoke or have a diet high in fats and low in fruits and vegetables

Signs and symptoms of Colorectal cancer

Even though colorectal cancer frequently develops without any symptoms in its early stages, there are some warning indications you should be aware of:


  • Your stool contains blood
  • Unusual bowel routine
  • Discomfort or pain in the abdomen
  • Anaemia (low red blood cell count)
  • A lump in the abdomen


With routine screening, colorectal cancer or polyps can be detected earlier. The Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is an easy-to-use screening method for finding colorectal cancer in its early stages. 


Screening is the process of checking individuals without visible signs of the disease for cancer or pre-cancer. The age at which colorectal cancer screenings should start for people with average risk is 50 years old. The suggested screening exam is Faecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT), which ought to be carried out yearly. Asymptomatic people, people without a family history of colorectal cancer, and people with a family history limited to first-degree relatives or relatives older than 60 are all considered to be at average risk. However, if you develop any colorectal cancer signs or symptoms even after a normal FIT result, please see your doctor immediately.

Types of treatment

The doctor will perform additional tests to establish the cancer stage if the biopsy reveals the presence of cancer. The stage is determined by things including whether the tumour has spread to neighbouring tissues and, if it has, which sections of the body it has spread to as illustrated by Singapore Cancer Society. The following are some treatments for colorectal cancer:


Surgery can be used to remove the tissues containing the tumour as well as any adjacent tissue or lymph nodes. Traditional open surgery or the minimally invasive laparoscopic method, which makes fewer incisions in the body, can be used to perform this.


Chemotherapy is the application of drugs to reduce or eliminate cancer cells. These drugs can reach cancer cells everywhere in the body once they enter the bloodstream.

Targeted Cancer Therapy

Patients may receive targeted therapy if their colorectal cancer has spread. These are medications or other compounds that have an impact on molecules involved in the development of tumours, halting, or slowing the spread of cancer.

Radiation Therapy

High-energy rays are used in radiation therapy, commonly known as radiotherapy, to kill cancer cells in the affected area.


A colorectal cancer prevention strategy cannot be guaranteed. You can, however, take steps to potentially reduce your risk according to Getting screened for colorectal cancer is one of the most effective ways to prevent the disease, as we stressed previously in this article. It typically takes 10 to 15 years from the time the initial aberrant cells begin to develop into polyps for them to turn into colorectal cancer. Most polyps can be discovered and removed with routine screening before they have an opportunity to develop into cancer.


Additionally, early detection of colorectal cancer through screening makes it easier to cure. You should begin getting checked for colorectal cancer if you are 45 years of age or older. Inquire with your doctor about which test might be the best choice for you. The most crucial thing is to get tested, regardless of the test you decide to take.


According to, a healthy lifestyle can aid in the prevention of many diseases, including colorectal cancer. Make changes to lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Increasing your physical activity level and intensity
  • Consuming less red and processed meat
  • Increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Giving up smoking


Though colorectal cancer has a higher survival rate and more treatment options as compared to other cancers, we still need to be wary of the symptoms as early detection can potentially save our lives or our loved ones.

Healthful is a digital media publisher and does not offer professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always consult your doctor when it comes to your personal health or before you start any treatment.

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