Do not assume the trivial appearance of blood spots in the stool during bowel movements, as well as changes in the pattern of consistency of stool from hard to runny followed by pain in the stomach. This may be a symptom of colorectal cancer.
“Normally there should be no blood in the stool. Once blood is found, we must be vigilant. Remind the doctor to do the examination, “said Dr.dr.Aru W Sudono, Sp.PD, KHOM, cancer expert from FKUI / RSCM Jakarta.
Although most examinations show blood in the stool is a sign of hemorrhoids (hemorrhoids), but there is no harm in doing a digital rectal exam. “It’s better to be vigilant but avoid chemotherapy which is expensive and physically and psychologically draining,” said Dr. Aru.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer involve changes in bowel habits, which include frequency and consistency without obvious causes and last more than six weeks, there is blood in the stool, abdominal pain in the back, weight loss, and feeling full even though already defecate.
Examinations that can be done to diagnose this cancer are a clinical examination (medical history and physical examination), rectal examination with fingers, and laboratory examination (examining stools) and colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy is accomplished by inserting a flexible tube equipped with a camera and a biopsy needle into the rectum to see the large intestinal mucous membrane. “Suspicious parts, such as polyps, will be taken and biopsied,” said Dr.Aru. Taking polyps will prevent cancer from developing.
According to Dr. Ali, he had done a colonoscopy and found polyps. “At that time it was known that the polyp was in the pre-cancer stage. If not found, maybe in two or three years it has developed into cancer, “he said.
Colon cancer is a disease that travels slowly. Therefore people are encouraged to make early detection, especially in high-risk groups, for example over 50 years of age and have a family history of cancer. “At the age of 50, signs of cancer usually begin to appear,” explained Dr. Aru.
If cancer is found in stage one, in five years the patient’s risk of survival reaches 90 percent. Whereas in the advanced stage (stage 4), the possibility of living is only five percent. “Most patients in Indonesia only come in stage three whose survival rate is around 30-60 percent,” he said.