About this disease
What it concerns
Colorectal cancer in general refers to cancer of the lower digestive tract. The colon is most frequently affected. In principle, however, tumors can occur in all sections of the intestine, i.e. also in all sections of the small intestine, in the appendix, rectum or anal canal.
Colon and rectal cancer are the most common tumors in the lower digestive tract. They are usually caused by mutations in the glandular cells of the intestine, and are then referred to as adenocarcinomas. Adenocarcinomas can also occur in the small intestine or in the appendix. However, so-called neuroendocrine tumors also occur there. These consist of hormone-forming cells and sometimes produce transmitter or messenger substances, which then allow targeted treatment in addition to surgery.
Symptoms and consequences
Colorectal cancer usually initially causes no or hardly any symptoms. Regular screening examinations from the age of 50 are therefore particularly important for early detection. If symptoms occur, they are usually not very typical and can vary greatly. It is therefore important to have any new abdominal complaints that cannot be clearly attributed to another cause clarified by a doctor.
What we can help you
Examination and diagnosis
In the general practitioner's consultation, you will be advised on screening options and if necessary referred to the gastroenterology department. With the help of a colonoscopy, the large intestine and the upper part of the small intestine can be examined. However, most of the small intestine is difficult to see and requires a special examination. Our gastroenterological specialists will advise you on this. If a tumor is suspected, a discussion will take place at our interdisciplinary tumor board.
If the colorectal cancer is well defined and not too advanced, it can often be operated on and thus cured. If it is already more advanced and has spread to the body, a tissue sample is often first taken to determine the nature of the tumor. This is usually followed first by drug treatment and, depending on the success of the therapy, by supplementary surgery if necessary. Neuroendocrine intestinal tumors are also treated with nuclear medicine therapies and targeted drugs.