Colorectal cancer on an upswing in South India

Hyderabad: Over the last couple of decades, Indian dietary patterns have mimicked the west. Similarly, we are witnessing a trend of western diseases which are now occurring more commonly in Indians. Our hectic lifestyle has led us to consume more fast food, and increasing consumerism has also enabled us to do so leading us to develop newer lifestyle diseases. 

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“The incidence of colorectal malignancies in South India has been on an upswing over the past two decades. It is the most common malignancy which affects the GIT. In 1990 it was 5.8 per 1, 00,000 population and in 2012 it was 4.4 whereas in 2017 it was estimated to be 7.9 per 1, 00,000. Colorectal malignancies may either be hereditary or sporadic. They can also occur in association with inflammatory bowel disease which is showing an increased incidence in India over the past decade”, says Dr Aditya Chowdhary, Consultant – GI Oncology & Colorectal Surgery, Gleneagles Global Hospital.

“Any change in our bowel habit being either increasing constipation or alternating diarrhoea and constipation needs to be assessed. When there is also bleeding associated with bowel movements it then raises a red flag. When any of the symptoms do occur especially over the age of 50 they require a detailed evaluation by a GI surgeon”, added Dr Chowdhary. 

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The cornerstone of evaluation is a thorough physical examination, stool examination along with a colonoscopy. Depending upon the findings further evaluation may need to be performed. The treatment consists of a detailed workup and is usually followed by surgery and chemoradiotherapy if malignancy is diagnosed.

With all the recent advances in treatment, the outcome is especially good with a majority of patients having a 5 Year disease-free survival of more than 90%, especially when diagnosed early. With the advent of new modalities in the treatment of Colorectal Cancer patients who have the advanced disease too have a reasonably good outcome.

Given that the outcomes of the disease are extremely good when detected and treated at an early stage, any change in bowel habits should be evaluated. 


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Mohammed Hussain

Mohammed Hussain was a multimedia journalist with He has a Bachelors in Mass Communication and Journalism and currently pursuing his post-graduation in the same subject. He has interned and worked with an English Daily. Hailing from Hyderabad, he spent his childhood in Old City. He primarily reports on civic, human interest, crime, regional and local news.
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