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COLORECTAL CANCER



Colorectal cancer originates in the colon or rectum, both parts of the large intestine (the body’s digestive organ).  Most cases of colorectal cancer are adenocarcinomas (originating in the cells which produce mucus and other liquids).

Colorectal cancer frequently begins with the growth of what is known as a polyp, which can form on the internal wall of the colon or rectum. Over time, some polyps can become cancerous. Colorectal cancer is the third most frequent cancer worldwide.
 
Our goal is to achieve the best treatment for colorectal cancer according to the genetic characteristics of each patient’s tumor.

SYMPTOMS of colon cancer
Colon cancer may cause the following symptoms:
  • Change in bowel habits.
  • Blood in the stool.
  • Diarrhea, constipation or a feeling of not being able to completely empty the bowel.
  • Thinner stools than normal.
  • Abdominal pain (caused by gases, flatulence, fullness or cramps).
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Feeling of extreme tiredness.
  • Vomiting.

DIAGNOSTIC TESTS to detect colon cancer
To diagnose colon cancer, any of the following tests that examine the colon and rectum may be performed:
  • Digital rectal examination (DRE).
  • Test for blood in the stool.
  • Barium enema.
  • Sigmoidoscopy.
  • Colonoscopy.
  • Virtual colonoscopy.
  • Biopsy.
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen test (CEA).
 

TREATMENT for colorectal cancer
There are different treatment options available for colorectal cancer patients. Six types of standard treatment are normally used:
  • Surgery.
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA).
  • Cryosurgery.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiotherapy.
  • Targeted therapies.
Other types of treatment are being investigated in clinical trials.

SYMPTOMS of rectal cancer
Rectal cancer or other conditions may cause the following symptoms:
  • Blood in the stool.
  • Changes in bowel habits.
  • Diarrhea, constipation or a feeling of not being able to fully empty the bowel.
  • Stools that are thinner or a different shape to normal.
  • General discomfort in the abdomen (pain caused by gases, flatulence, feeling of fullness or cramps).
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Feeling of extreme tiredness.
 
DIAGNOSTIC TESTS to detect rectal cancer
The following tests are used to diagnose rectal cancer by examining the colon and rectum:
  • Digital rectal examination (DRE).
  • Colonoscopy.
  • Biopsy.
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen test (CEA).

PERSONALIZED TREATMENTS for colorectal cancer
Peritoneal surgery

A significant number of colorectal cancers present with carcinomatosis, which is the presence of tumor nodules throughout the abdominal cavity. In these cases, personalized treatment with chemotherapy can be administered, based on each the genetic alterations driving the growth of each patient's tumor. Therapy with selected monoclonal antibodies can also be administered based on the same criteria.

Following this treatment, peritoneal cytoreductive surgery can be performed, involving complete resection of the peritoneal nodules and therefore any metastases. In certain cases, this allows for treatment with curative intent to be applied.

Surgery of liver metastases

Some 40% of colorectal cancer patients present with liver metastases at diagnosis, and more than half of patients who undergo surgery for malignancies in the colon will go on to develop liver metastases. Most of these patients require combination treatment with chemotherapy and targeted therapies. In our center, we perform genetic testing to detect specific biomarkers such as mutations of the KRAS, BRAF, PTEN and P3K genes in order to determine which patients can benefit from these treatments. In this way we increased the chances of successful therapy by tailoring treatment to each patient.

Achieving a reduction in the size of liver metastases increases the chances of successful surgery of the same, and therefore the chances of survival.