Colorectal cancer is among young adults and with an objective to sensitise people around it, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals has launched the Apollo National Colorectal Programme. The good news is that with the advancement of technologies, like the introduction of robot-assisted surgeries, the treatment of colorectal cancer has evolved over the year and have more accurate and provide better outcomes.
The launch event was followed by a panel discussion that addressed various aspects of colorectal cancer, including awareness, management and advancements in the treatment.
Addressing the incidence of colorectal cancer in India which is now reported to be about 7 per lacs of population, the conference discussed early detection of colorectal cancers and the developments and advancements in robotic surgery around colorectal cancer. The launch was led by a group of doctors from Apollo Hospitals namely Dr VP Singh, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology, Dr Shuaib Zaidi, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology, Dr Sameer Kaul, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology, Dr Deepak Govil, Senior Consultant, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and GI Oncology, Dr Arun Prasad, Senior Consultant, Gastroenterology and Dr Venkatesh Munikrishnan, Consultant Colorectal & Robotic Surgeon, Clinical Lead Apollo Institute of Colorectal Surgery Apollo Hospitals Chennai).
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Dr Shuaib Zaidi, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology, said, “We have witnessed an increase in the number of colorectal cancer cases being reported in the past 5 years. These patients are typically between the age of 35 to 65 years. Majority of these cases have aggressive forms of cancer and are in the advanced stage. Sometimes these patients may present with a complaint of weakness and on evaluation are found to have a low haemoglobin which is referred to as anaemia. This happens because of slow or occult loss of blood in the stool from the cancer which is located in the large intestine. Usually key symptom of left side colon cancers is anaemia and for right side colon cancers it is constipation.”
In addition to this, Dr Deepak Govil, Senior Consultant, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and GI Oncology, said, “In India, we see patients at a younger age presenting with colorectal cancer in comparison to the western world. While the number is low when compared with western world where it goes upto 30 to 40 per lacs of population. However, with India’s huge population of 1.4 billion people, in absolute numbers, this comes to be a fairly high figure. The most common symptoms are bleeding from rectum, especially when the cancer is located in the rectum and the distal part of the large intestine. However, other early warning signs that should not be ignored `include change in the bowel habit in a person who otherwise had a regular bowel habit such as increase in constipation, abdominal discomfort that persists for a prolonged period of time.
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Dr Venkatesh Munikrishnan, Consultant Colorectal & Robotic Surgeon, Clinical Lead Apollo Institute of Colorectal Surgery Apollo Hospitals Chennai) also mentioned that “We have made tremendous progress with the advanced robotic surgery programme at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals. The application of robot assisted surgeries has also enabled clinicians to perform a very precise dissection and clear all cancer cells in depth using the robot’s high magnification field. It is a cutting-edge development in the surgical intervention of colorectal cancer, and with it, in the depth of the pelvis, doctors are able to execute the entire procedure with much more precision with little or no blood loss. With the help of these technologies and robotic surgeries, surgeons can tailor their treatment according to the patient’s stage of disease. Furthermore, in most patients, the normal passage is preserved, which is considered a significant advancement.”
The event also spotlighted how colorectal cancer treatment has progressed from a simple surgical treatment to a multidisciplinary treatment (MDT). The MDT board consists of a medical gastroenterologist, a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist, a radiologist, and a pathologist. These are highly specialised facilities where all of these groups collaborate to form a multidisciplinary team to plan a personalised treatment plan for the patient’s needs.