Cancer of the large bowel is collectively called colorectal cancer, and includes cancer of the colon, rectum and anus. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States with over 125,000 new cases and approximately 50,000 deaths each year. The incidence rate of new cases has decreased significantly due to several factors, most importantly earlier screening, and detection. As a result, and because of improved treatment options, the death rate from colorectal cancer in the United States has decreased by about 25%.
Most colorectal cancers arise from polyps, specifically adenomatous polyps. A polyp is a mass of abnormal cells on the surface of the colon or rectum. Polyps can be classified as non-cancerous such as neoplastic hamartoma, a hyperplastic polyp, or an adenomatous polyp. In general, adenomatous adenomas are considered premalignant (can turn into cancer), and although common, only a small percentage (<1%) of adenomatous polyps evolve into cancer.
Up to 25% of patients with colorectal cancer have a family history of the disease, suggesting a hereditary pre-disposition. In addition to heredity, there are other factors like diet, smoking, and diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease that can increase risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Depending on the location of the tumor, symptoms can vary from no symptoms to a variety of different symptoms. These include chronic slow blood loss that cannot be seen with the naked eye; more rapid and obvious blood loss; or obstruction with decreased, and in some cases, inability to pass stool accompanied with abdominal pain.
Treatment for colorectal cancer can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and newer biologic targeted therapy. Like so many other cancers, the initial stage correlates strongly with the risk of recurrence, as well as the choice and outcome of treatments. The earlier colorectal cancer is diagnosed, the more likely it can be cured.
Hyperthermia can be added to the colon, rectal and anal cancer treatment plan at any time. Multiples studies demonstrate the effectiveness of hyperthermia in patients who have cancer of the colon, rectum, and anus.
Optimally, hyperthermia treatment is initiated as soon as the patient begins receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Improving your therapeutic regimen leads to the best outcome. For all patients, the goal is to choose the right therapy or combination of therapies that lead to the best outcome while minimizing side effects.
Hyperthermia often has no or minimal side effects and has no known adverse effects on normal tissue. Adding hyperthermia can maximize the effectiveness of your therapeutic regimen without risking sensitive surrounding organs. This means surrounding bowel, liver, or other nearby or affected organs are not adversely affected by adding hyperthermia to your colorectal cancer treatment plans.