Colorectal Cancer Support Group (CRCSG)

Support Group for Colorectal Cancer Patients in Palliative care

Painand Palliative Care Society, Thrissur has formed a Colorectal Cancer SupportGroup (CRCSG) with the objective of providing focused attention and betterservice to the group of persons affected by colorectal cancer. These patientshave similar issues to tackle during the treatment and management of theircondition. They can, therefore, benefit from the services rendered by thissupport group.

About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that occurs first in the colon or therectum. These cancers can also be named colon cancer or rectal cancer,depending on where they occur first. Colon cancer and rectal cancer are often grouped togetherbecause they have many features in common. Colorectal cancer is the thirdleading cause of cancer-related deaths in women and the second leading cause inmen. The lifetime-risk (eighty-five years) of developing colorectalcancer is about 1 in 21 (4.7%) for men and 1 in 23 (4.4%) for women.

Colorectal CancerCommon types of cancer in the colon and rectum are adenocarcinomas (> 95% ofcolorectal cancers, carcinoid tumors, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors(GISTs)). Symptoms include the change in bowel habits (including diarrhea,constipation, a change in the consistency of your stool or finding your stoolsare narrower than usual), persistent abdominal discomfort (Such as cramps, gas,or pain and/or feeling full, bloated or that your bowel does not emptycompletely), rectal bleeding and fatigue.

Risk Factors are obesity, the diet that is high in red meats, cooking meats at veryhigh temperatures (frying, broiling, or grilling), tobacco abuse, heavy alcoholuse, above eighty years of age and family history. Colorectal cancers are foundin people without a family history of colorectal cancer. Still, as many as 1 in5 people who develop colorectal cancer have other family members who have hadit. People who have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) with ahistory of colorectal cancer are at increased risk. The risk is even higher ifthat relative was diagnosed with cancer when they were younger than 45, or ifmore than one first-degree relative is affected. The reasons for the increasedrisk are not clear in all cases. Cancers can run in the family because ofinherited genes, shared environmental factors, or some combination of these.

Deaths from colorectal cancer have actually been declining for women and menfor decades, and maybe attributed to improved treatment as well as increasedawareness about colorectal cancer screening. Some colorectal cancer screeningtests, like colonoscopy, allow doctors to remove colorectal polyps before theybecome cancerous. The American Cancer Society recommends screening starting atage 45 for people with average risk.

Activities of the Support Group:

The support group started working in February 2017 with 50 patients (32 maleand 18 female) who had registered their names in the society. Ourcolorectal cancer patient support group provides a safe space to connect withothers coping with colorectal cancer and is led by an oncology social workerwho provides emotional and practical support. The Peer Support program lets youspeak with someone who truly understands what it's like to live with thisdisease, and is willing to share their own experiences with you. Peer Supportvolunteers do not offer medical advice but they can tell you about theirdisease and how they balance their treatment with family life, work, and socialactivities. They'll be able to answer many of your questions, because they'vebeen there, too.