What Is Colon Cancer And Colon Cancer Symptoms ?
Colon cancer is also know as colorectal cancer (colon cancer and rectal cancer) and bowel cancer. The colon is basically where the body extracts water and salt from solid wastes. The waste then moves through the rectum and gets out from the body through the anus. Further colon cancer symptoms appear slowly and not immediately seen.
Colon cancer originates from the benign tumors (noncancerous cells) and they are called adenomatous polyps. The adenomatous polyps are present in the inner walls of the large intestine.
It is the cancer that develops from the colon or rectum ( parts of large intestine). It is considered to be the third most common type of cancer in United States.
As it has become so common that individuals are recommended for regular screenings after the age of 50 years.
Colon cancer symptoms and signs include blood in the stool, weight loss, feeling tired all the time, and change in bowel movements.
What Are The Colon Cancer Symptoms ?
The above discussed symptoms were very common lets discuss it in more detail in this section. The colon cancer symptoms and signs depends mainly on the location of the tumor in the bowel, and whether it has spread all over the body that is metastasis. The major Signs include:
- Blood in the stool
- Decrease in stool caliber
- Worsening constipation
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Nausea or vomiting
The major colon cancer symptoms include:
- Loss and narrow stools
- Abdominal pain which is unbearable
- Pain during the bowel movements
- Weakness and fatigue
- Iron deficiency anemia
The most commonly affected organ with the colon cancer is the liver. As the cancer shifts to other parts of the body additional symptoms may occur too.
What Are The Causes Of Colon Cancer ?
The exact causes are not known but in this subheading we will be talking about some of the potential risk factors.
1. Polyps: As mentioned above that colon cancer originates or begins from the precancerous polyps that exist in the large intestine. The most common types of polyps are: Adenomas, Hyperplastic polyps. And some of these polyps may even grow into malignant colon cancer, if not removed during the early stages.
2. Genes: Rapid growth may occur if there is any genetic damage, or if changes in the DNA and check points affect the cell divisions. Colon cancer can also be inherited, but as seen according to the reports that colon cancer occur in people without a family history. For some it may be by birth and they may carry mutations already that make them have the disease in their later life.
3. Traits, Habits, and Diet: Age plays an important role in here. 92 percent of the individuals are those who get a diagnoses are over 50 years old. Sedentary lifestyles, obesity and people who smoke eat tobacco make people more prone to colon cancer. Colon cancer is directly linked with the digestive system so the calories, red meat, processed meat and alcohol are alll attached with higher risk of colon cancer.
How To Diagnose Colon Cancer ?
Whenever a patient visit the physician they carry out whole physical exam and ask about your family history as well. The physicians diagnose only after colonoscopy or a barium enema x-ray.
- Colonoscopy: In colonoscopy there is a long flexible tube with a camera attached to one end of the tube, and it is directly inserted into the rectum to get the details of inside the colon.
In order, a patient has to keep a check on their special diet, as it has to be followed during this process, the diet duration is of 24-48 hours before the procedure.
If polyps are found during the examination in the colon, they are removed with the help of the tube and send for further investigation to the pathologist for the biopsy. The pathologist examines the sample under the microscope that detects cancerous cells or precancerous cells.
- Double-contrast barium enema: It is an x-ray procedure in which it uses a liquid called barium to provide clearer imaging results than a standard x-ray can give. But before undergoing this procedure the patient need to undergo for fast for several hours.
A liquid solution containing barium is then injected into the colon through the rectum, followed by pumping of air to smooth barium layer.
How To Treat Colon Cancer ?
Treatments depend mainly on the type of the cancer, age of an individual and many more. As such there is no common treatment, but surgery, chemotherapy and radiation might be of great help in here.
- Surgery: In surgery a part of colon is removed also known as colectomy. The affected part of the colon is removed or even the lymph node is removed by the surgeon. A stoma is the opening made in the wall of the abdomen. waste is passed into the bag, removing the need of lower part of the colon also referred to as colostomy. Small and localized cancers can be removed using endoscopy.
- Chemotherapy: In this there are chemicals that interfere with the cell division, and by this act the proteins or DNA is damaged. Such treatments can target tumor cells or even the healthy cells. Common side effects of the chemotherapy includes, 1. hair loss 2. nausea 3. fatigue and even 4. vomiting.
- Radiation: Radiations damages and kills cancer by focusing high-energy gamma rays on them. Side effects of radiation in a individual may include 1.nausea 2.diarrhea 3. weight loss and appetite and many more.
What Are The Preventive Measures One Must Take ?
- Colon cancer or colon cancer symptoms are very hard to diagnose but once it is diagnosed at the early stage for example on stage 1, then it may have 92% chance of the survival of an individual for further 4-5 years.
- Therefore everyone is men and women both to go for regular screening test, because symptoms dont appear until and unless it has progressed.
- Some of the screening test an individual can go through in his or her 40’s are
- Stool DNA testing
- CT colonography
- Flexible sigmoidscopy
- Annual fecal occult bloood tests