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Colorectal Cancer

The Diagnosis | The Treatment | Questions

The Colon And Rectum (Large Bowel)

The bowel is divided into two parts, the small and large bowel.
Most cancers develop in the large bowel, which is also known as the colon and rectum.
Once food has been swallowed it passes down the oesophagus to the stomach and into the small bowel.
As food passes through the small bowel it is digested and essential nutrients are taken into the body.
The digested food then enters the large bowel and water is absorbed.
The remaining waste matter, known as stool or faeces, is held in the rectum (back passage) until it is ready to be passed from the body as a bowel motion.

The Cause
The causes of bowel cancer are largely unknown. However, a number of factors are believed to increase the risk of getting colorectal cancer.

There is evidence to suggest that cancer of the large bowel may be linked to our diet. It is thought that a diet that is high in animal fat and protein, and low in fibre, may increase the risk of developing bowel cancer. In addition, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol may also increase the risk.
People with a family history of colorectal cancer may have an increased risk of developing the disease. Those who have more than one family member diagnosed with colorectal cancer, or whose parents or siblings had colorectal cancer under the age of 45, also have a higher risk.

If you have any symptoms or a family history of colorectal cancer, please consult your doctor. Regular colonoscopy checks will help to identify colorectal cancer early. Please consult your GP or call our CancerLink hotline at 3656 0800 for more information.

Colorectal Cancer In Hong Kong
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The Symptoms / Risks
Consult your GP if you have any of the following:

If you find blood in the bowel motion or the toilet bowl.
If you notice increased mucus in your stool.
If you have changes in your toilet habits.
If you lose weight.
If you have abdominal discomfort or pain.
If you feel like you have to empty your bowel even after just doing so, or simply feel like there is something in your bowel.
Vomiting
Anemia symptoms like cold limbs, fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath, paleness and dizziness.

Colorectal cancer may also cause ileus. Symptoms include constipation, abdominal pain and bloating. If you notice any of the above, please consult your doctor immediately. However, please note that having the above symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have cancer.