Computed Tomography has become instrumental in the detection of colorectal cancer, and ultimately for a higher cure rate of the disease. Usually colorectal cancer has no early symptoms in the course of the illness. However as the cancer grows in size some of the following symptoms can develop : diarrhea or constipation and a change in consistency of stool for more than a couple of weeks. Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding. Feeling of fullness with persistent abdominal cramps. Pain with a feeling of incomplete evacuation with bowels movements.Unexplained weight loss and weakness.
Ideally the diagnosis is made prior to the onset of symptoms through screening tests such as : Stool blood test. Sigmoidoscopy - It examines the rectum and sigmoid colon with a flexible scope that has a camera to see the inside of the sigmoid colon This test has been largely replaced by colonoscopy.
Colonoscopy is similar to the sigmoidoscopy. A flexible scope has a camera to visualize the inside lining of the entire colorectum that can also remove polyps and cauterize other lesions. Virtual colonoscopy is a CT test similar to it's predecessor, the barium enema. During the test the colon is filled with air and a CT is done. Treatment for colorectal involves surgery, chemotherapy and or radiation. Screening should be a high priority to promote early detection. Age 50 or older should follow these screening guides. Annual fecal occoult blood testing. Flexible sigmoidoscopy should be done every 5 to 10 years or virtual colonscopy every 5 to 10 years and others with significant risk factors should be screened more often. Lastly, prevention involves lifestyle changes inherent in healthy living which includes regular exercise, a diet low in saturated fat, limited alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking cessation.
This information is not meant to replace consultation with your physician regarding your individual circumstances. This article is to provide useful information, not medical advice. Always consult with your doctor if you think you may have related symptoms.
Computed tomography is just one of several imaging modalities used for detection of cancer. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a radiologic technologist and programs with Computed Tomography certificates, learn more at the radiology technician schools page in this site.