Proctology is the medical specialty that deals with the large intestine, rectum, and anus. It is responsible for the prevention, identification, and treatment of diseases in this region, including tumors and inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn's. Learn more.

Coloproctology is a medical specialty dedicated to the study of diseases of the large intestine, anus, and rectum. Coloproctologists study the patient’s condition to arrive at a diagnosis and define treatment. Among the diverse conditions that the specialty treats are Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative rectocolitis, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal prolapse, constipation, and benign or malignant tumors of the large intestine and anus.

Coloproctology will be the ideal medical specialty to treat the different types of cancer that can affect the intestine. These include tumors that start in the part of the large intestine called the colon, the rectum, and the anus. Also known as colorectal cancer, these tumors are responsible for almost 41 thousand new cases and 20.5 thousand deaths per year in Brazil, according to the National Cancer Institute (Inca).

The good news is that bowel cancer is treatable and, in most cases, curable when detected early. Surgery is the initial treatment, removing the affected part of the intestine and the lymph nodes (small structures that are part of the body’s defense system) inside the abdomen. Other stages of treatment include radiation therapy, which can be combined with chemotherapy.

Inflammatory bowel diseases such as chronic ulcerative rectocolitis and Crohn’s disease increase the risk of bowel cancer. In this sense, it is fundamental that patients with these diseases have an individualized follow-up with a coloproctologist. He will be able to indicate tests that will define the diagnosis and the most assertive course of action for the treatment.

Other risk factors are aging, excess weight, and an unhealthy diet – poor in fruits, vegetables, and other foods that contain fiber. The consumption of processed meats (sausage, mortadella, sausage, ham, bacon, and salami) and the excessive intake of red meat (over 500 grams of cooked meat per week) also increase the risk for this type of cancer.

Early detection can be done by screening people with signs and symptoms suggesting the disease or people without signs or symptoms but who belong to groups with a higher chance of developing it. Screening for colon and rectal tumors can be done by two main tests: fecal occult blood testing and colonoscopies.

Among the main signs and symptoms suggestive of bowel cancer are bleeding in the stool, abdominal pain, weight loss, and anemia or the presence of an abdominal mass. Most of the time these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but it is important that they are investigated by a medical specialist.

Besides acting in the diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer, the proctologist also acts in the case of anal cancer, which occurs in the canal and the external borders of the anus. According to INCA, this type of cancer is rare and represents 1 to 2% of all colorectal tumors.

Role of the Coloproctologist in the prevention of prostate cancer

In Brazil, prostate cancer is the second most common among men and it affects mainly those over 65. It is estimated that in Brazil more than 65 thousand new cases appear every year, causing almost 16 thousand deaths among men. Contrary to what many people think, the ideal professional to follow up on this type of cancer is not the proctologist, but the urologist. The proctologist, however, can play an important role in the early detection of prostate cancer, through laboratory tests or just the rectal touch.


National Cancer Institute: https://www.inca.gov.br/tipos-de-cancer/cancer-de-intestino

Oncoguia: http://www.oncoguia.org.br/conteudo/diagnostico/2546/123/


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