According to Hong Kong Cancer Registry of Hospital Authority, colorectal cancer had become the most common cancer in 2018 and has ranked second as the most fatal cancer for many years.
Hong Kong people’s diet generally contains lots of high-fat, low-fibre and processed food. Some even smoke and drink without exercising, leading a lifestyle that risks colorectal cancer. In addition, people who have a history of colon diseases or family history of colorectal cancer have greater chance of developing colorectal cancer than others1.
Blood in stool or abdominal discomfort could be a warning
Colorectal cancer is no stranger to most of us but it is hard to detect. Colorectum is the last portion of the digestive system which consists of the colon, rectum and anus. Most colorectal cancers begin as small polyps which gradually develop into cancer, and this process could take 10 years or more.
The point is, symptoms at early stages such as sudden change in bowel habit, constipation, blood in stool or abdominal discomfort could be mistakenly recognise as hemorrhoids or common digestive problems. Without knowing its existence or receiving wrong treatments, patients’ condition may deteriorate and develop anaemia, unexplained weight loss and malaise2.
Colostomy is not the only way out
A lot of us may have heard of colostomy or artificial anus when it comes to colorectal cancer treatment. In the past, surgery was the main treatment of the disease and if the affected area is large or close to the anus, a hole may need to be made and the patient would need to carry a bag for stool excretion. This not only causes inconvenience in daily life but may also increase psychological burden.
But thanks to the medical advancements in recent years, colostomy is not the only option. Doctors will tailor-made either a single or a combination of therapies for patients depending on the type, size and location of the tumour. This includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Recovery made easier
To provide you with more information on colorectal cancer treatment, AXA has worked with the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital to produce a real-case video. It is a story of a married woman who had blood in stool for several months and was diagnosed with a 9cm tumour in the rectum close to the anus. The hospital formed a multi-disciplinary t team that worked out a 3-phase of treatment solution for her – concurrent chemoradiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy. Thanks to the promising results in the first phase, only a small portion of rectum was removed and a temporary colostomy was made. This meant her anus remains intact and she can continue to live life to the fullest!
Click the image to Play the video!
[AXA Signature Network Series] Latest treatment for colorectal cancer could save you from colostomy
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1. Website of Department of Health (Elderly Health Service): https://www.elderly.gov.hk/english/common_health_problems/cancer/colorectal_cancer.html
2. Website of Department of Health (CRC Screening Programme): https://www.colonscreen.gov.hk/en/public/index.html
The above content is reviewed by Dr Alexander Chiu - Medical Director, Health and Employee Benefits of AXA Hong Kong and Macau
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