Rectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, bowel cancer, or colorectal cancer, is the growth of malignant and cancerous cells in the lower part of the colon. This cancer first develops as polyp, which further becomes malignant. In general, rectal cancer occurs due to changes in DNA of healthy cells present in the rectum. However, in most cases, the cause of these changes is unknown. Some of the risk factors that can cause rectal cancer include aging, smoking, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), family or personal history of colon or rectal cancer, and high fat diet or diet mostly from animal sources, alcohol consumption, and sedentary lifestyle. Commonly occurring symptoms of the cancer include bloody stool, abdominal pain, iron deficiency, diarrhea, and weight loss.
Furthermore, the prognosis of the cancer depends on its stage, and it can be diagnosed through physical examination, digital rectal examination, colonoscopy, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) assay, and biopsy. Chest X-rays and colonoscopy also help in determining the stage of the cancer. For the treatment of rectal cancer, the affected lymph node can be removed through surgery, depending on stage of the cancer. Other treatment options include chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
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Companies that are involved in developing therapeutics for rectal cancer have shown positive clinical results in the various phases of drug development. For instance, in 2017, Hutchison MediPharma announced positive topline result of trial of fruquintinib in 416 patients with locally advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer.
Eli Lilly and Company, Taiwan Liposome Company Ltd., Genentech Inc., Sanofi-aventis Groupe, Merck & Co. Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Hutchison MediPharma, Seattle Genetics Inc., and Advaxis Inc. are some of the key players involved in the development of drugs for rectal cancer.
This post was originally published on Financial Sector