The term colorectal carcinoma refers to bowel cancer of the colon and the rectum. Bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer and primarily affects people aged 50 and over. Altered bowel movements and blood in the stool are the most common symptoms of bowel tumours. It is treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
- How does bowel cancer develop?
- Risk factors for bowel cancer
- Symptoms of bowel cancer
- Treatment of bowel cancer
The small intestine is less frequently affected by the disease, which is why bowel cancer is known in layman’s terms as colon cancer.
How does bowel cancer develop?
The number of men and women diagnosed with this type of cancer is more or less the same. The risk of developing the disease increases significantly from the age of 50 onwards. Colon cancer almost always presents as small polyps, known as colorectal polyps. Preventative examinations are therefore incredibly important for people who face an increased risk. Such check-ups make it possible to identify and remove these polyps at an early stage.
Risk factors for bowel cancer
The following risk factors make a person more likely to develop colon cancer:
- Other family members who have suffered from bowel cancer
- Polyps in the colon
- Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis)
- Very little exercise
Symptoms of bowel cancer
Bowel cancer does not cause symptoms or pain for a long time. Important indicators for possible bowel cancer are:
- Changes in bowel habits
- Urge to defecate without a bowel movement
- Switch between constipation and diarrhoea
- Blood in the stool
More general symptoms such as weight loss and tiredness can also point to a bowel tumour. Colon cancer very rarely causes stomach pains. Patients suffering these symptoms should go to a doctor.
How is bowel cancer diagnosed?
A colonoscopy is carried out to diagnose bowel cancer. Tissue samples can be taken from any areas that exhibit suspicious changes, so it is possible to make a definitive cancer diagnosis. Smaller colorectal polyps can be removed during the colonoscopy.
Check-ups involving a colonoscopy or stool examination (blood) are important for the early detection of the disease.
The choice of treatment depends on how far the cancer has progressed. If detected early, bowel cancer can be effectively treated by surgically removing the tumour. However, this is only the case if the tumour has not yet grown into the colon and has not yet formed any other tumours (metastases).
In its advanced state, bowel cancer is treated with surgery combined with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. You can find out more about the surgical treatment options in the colon surgery section.
Make an appointment now
Are you unsure whether colorectal cancer screening is important for you or would you like to make an appointment? Contact us via the Hirslanden Healthline or the Hirslanden App.
Bowel Cancer Centre Klinik St. AnnaAvailable by telephone from Monday to Friday 09.00 - 11.30 h and 13.30 - 16.00 h
Centre for Gastrointestinal DiseasesSeestrasse 90 8002 ZurichF +41 44 201 67 50e-mailMon - Fri: 8.00 am - 5.00 pm
8.00 - 12.00 am and 1.30 - 4.00 pm
Centre for Surgery ZurichLocation Klinik HirslandenWitellikerstrasse 40 8032 Zurich
Chirurgie AarauBahnhofstrasse 24
CH-5000 AarauMonday – Friday: 8.00 am - 12.00 noon, 1.00 - 5.00 pm
Chirurgie BadenLanghaus 2
Clinic for Hematology & Oncology Hirslanden ZurichWitellikerstrasse 40 8032 ZürichF +41 44 387 22 75e-mail
Gastroenterology St. AnnaSt. Anna-Strasse 32 6006 LucerneF +41 41 208 31 42e-mail08.00- 17.00 Uhr
Gastroenterology centre HirslandenWitellikerstrasse 40
8032 ZürichF +41 44 387 39 66e-mail
Gynaecology CenterAvenue de la Roseraie 76A
1205 GenèveF +41 22 321 26 70e-mail
Oncological and Haematology CentreHirslanden Clinique des Grangettes
Route de chêne 110