• Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain, is a sign of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer, is the third most common type of cancer among men and women in India. Luckily, it can be cured, if detected early. The commonly used technique to detect colorectal cancer is colonoscopy. This requires the specialist — physician, gastroenterologist or oncologist to visually inspect the image obtained by the camera inserted into the colon of the subject. But this manual approach for colonoscopy examination by physicians may sometime lead to an erroneous diagnosis. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have designed an automated Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system that can help the physician rapidly and accurately detect colorectal cancer from colonoscopy images. Also Read – Both piles and colorectal cancer can cause bleeding from anus: How to tell them apart During the visual examination, specialists check for the presence and features of abnormal tissue growths (polyps) including shape, surface structure and contour to classify them into different categories (neoplastic and non-neoplastic). The IIT Guwahati team extracted the shape, texture and colour components through AI algorithms using different filters. The statistical significance in the contribution of different components was then evaluated, followed by feature selection, classifier selection based on six measures and cross validation. Their study results have been published in the journal Scientific Reports, as reported by IANS. Also Read – Scientists find a way to stop the spread of colorectal cancer tumours
The researchers believe that their work would have a global impact in the detection of colorectal cancer. Also Read – 5 most common cancers among women For the study, IIT Guwahati professor Manas Kamal Bhuyan collaborated with scientists from Cotton University, Guwahati, Harvard University, University of Texas and Aichi Medical University, Japan.
Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer starts in the colon (large intestine) or the rectum. Although this type of cancer typically affects older adults, it can happen at any age. It begins with the formation of small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps on the inside of the colon. Over time some of these polyps can turn into cancers. Polyps may produce few or no symptoms. For this reason, regular screening tests is important to identify and remove polyps before they turn into cancer. Many patients experience no symptoms in the early stages of colon cancer. When symptoms appear, they may from person to person, depending on the cancer’s size and location in your large intestine. Watch out for these common signs and symptoms of colon cancer:
Persistent change in bowel habits, including diarrhoea or constipation or a change in the consistency of the stool
Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
Having a feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
Weakness or fatigue
Unexplained weight loss
If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor can tell if you need a colon cancer screening. Doctors generally recommend colon cancer screenings around 50. But more frequent or earlier screening may be recommended if you have other risk factors, such as a family history of the disease. Today, many treatments are available to help control colon cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy and drug treatments, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
Delayed colonoscopy ups risk of colorectal cancer death
A study published online in the journal Gastroenterology in January 2021 warned that delay in undergoing colonoscopy following an abnormal stool test can increase the risk of a colorectal cancer diagnosis and cancer-related death. The researchers found that patients who received colonoscopy more than 13 months after an abnormal stool blood test were up to 1.3 times more likely to have colorectal cancer than those who had colonoscopy up to three months after the stool test. Additionally, odds of an advanced stage of cancer at diagnosis were to 1.7 times higher when colonoscopy was delayed beyond 16 months. Also, the risk of colorectal cancer-related death increased by up to 1.5 times when colonoscopy was delayed more than 19 months, the study added.