Our Colorectal Surgeon has the Answers

Posted on Healthcare By Dr. Matthew Tytherleigh - FRCS - Published on 2014-10-12

Dr. Matthew Tytherleigh – Consultant Colorectal and Laparoscopic Surgeon MD FRCS(Gen Surg) – answers commonly asked questions about colorectal cancer, the second most common type of cancer in the UAE.

What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the large intestine, comprising of the colon and rectum. Most of these cancers begin as pre-cancerous abnormal growths (adenomas or polyps) inside the colon or rectum.

What causes colorectal cancer?
The exact causes of colorectal cancer are unknown, but the disease is associated with inherited or genetic factors and lifestyle factors, such as obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, a diet rich in red or processed meat and inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables.

How common is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is now the second most common life threatening cancer in UAE and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the Emirate. One in fourteen men and one in nineteen women have a lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Why should I have a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is used as a screening test to prevent colorectal cancer from developing by finding and removing the small adenomas or polyps that may develop into cancer. Colonoscopy is also used to investigate symptoms and find cancers early, so that the chance of full recovery is high.

What are the symptoms?
People who have colorectal adenomas or cancer often do not have any symptoms. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include:

  • A change in bowel habit to diarrhea or constipation
  • Blood in the stool (bowel movement)
  • Anemia (low blood count causing tiredness and breathlessness)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pains, aches or cramps in the abdomen (tummy)

What is the treatment of colorectal cancer?
The best treatment for colorectal cancer is surgery by a specialized colorectal cancer surgeon. The operation removes the diseased section of bowel together with its lymph nodes (glands). The ends of the bowel are usually then joined together. Occasionally, when the cancer is close to the anus (bottom) it is not possible to join the bowel together and the end of the bowel needs to be brought out onto the abdominal wall. This is called a colostomy. Colorectal cancer surgery is often performed laparoscopically (keyhole surgery). Sometimes, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy are undertaken before or after surgery to improve outcomes. 


About Author

Dr. Matthew Tytherleigh - FRCS

Dr. Matthew Tytherleigh is a consultant general surgeon. He was trained at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, UK. Dr. Tytherleigh's surgical training was at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford with Professor Neil Mortenson. In 2006, he was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (General Surgery). His research was undertaken at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford with Professor Sir Walter Bodmer. Dr. Tytherleigh spent his Colorectal Fellowship year with Professor Les Bokey at Concord Hospital in Sydney, Australia. Following completion of his training, Dr. Tytherleigh was appointed as a locum Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge and subsequently, to a substantive post at Ipswich Hospital. Dr. Tytherleigh has been instrumental in improving guest safety, clinical governance issues and has implemented a number of initiatives including an enhanced recovery program. In 2011, he gained a Clinical Excellence Award for this work. Dr. Tytherleigh specializes in colorectal cancer, laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, inflammatory bowel disease and colitis, proctology (such as hemorrhoids, fissures and fistulas), fecal incontinence, prolapse, hernia surgery and advanced colonoscopy. To his credit, he has co-authored the Colorectal Surgery chapter in The New Aird's Companion in Surgical Studies, the recommended UK surgical trainee textbook.

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