Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer or bowel cancer, is cancer arising out of the inner lining of the last part of the large intestine. A family history of colon cancer, long-standing ulcerative colitis, and the presence of colon polyps are some of the leading reasons that put an individual at a risk of colon cancer.
A majority of colon cancer develop from benign growths in the colon, also known as polyps. Removal of colon polyps is, therefore, the best prevention of colon cancer. The polyps may produce no symptoms at all in the affected individuals and this is the reason why they are hard to detect. Therefore, individuals at high risk of colon cancer should undergo colon cancer screening at regular intervals to detect the presence of polyps and proper action should be taken them to remove polyps before they turn cancerous. Early screening and detection is the key to successful colon cancer treatment.
Colon cancer is diagnosed with the help of sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. During these tests, a piece of tissue is removed from the colon to confirm the presence of cancer cells. When the cancer cells are confirmed, a treatment plan is prepared. The course of treatment advised by the doctor may depend on the location, size, and the extent of cancer. It also depends on the overall health of the patient and how well he or she can tolerate it. Surgery is the most common treatment option used for colon cancer. Colon cancer treatment cost varies from one patient to the other.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in the world. It can metastasize and spread to other body parts. Colorectal cancer is dangerous and can be life-threatening. But death rate from colorectal cancer has dropped in the recent years, thanks to advance screening techniques and better colorectal treatment options.
Colorectal cancer is also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer. Colorectal cancer begins as an abnormal growth of cells in the inner lining of the colon or rectum. This abnormal growth is called a polyp.
Some types of polyps can change into cancer over the course of several years. But it does not mean that all polyps have the tendency to become cancerous. The chance of changing a polyp into colorectal cancer depends on the type of polyp that grows.
Colorectal cancer can affect men and women equally. However, studies have proven that men might develop it at a younger age.
There is no definite cause of colorectal cancer, but old age and certain lifestyle factors can increase colorectal cancer risk. Some of these colorectal cancer risk factors include the following:
A majority of colorectal cancers are adenocarcinoma. If you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, there are 95 percent chances that it is an adenocarcinoma. But there are some other types of colorectal cancer such as carcinoid, gastrointestinal stromal, lymphomas, and sarcomas.
There are no early signs of colorectal cancer, but once it grows, the patients may experience the following colon cancer symptoms:
After the determination of the stage, the doctor chooses the best suitable treatment options for the patient. The treatment plan prepared is specific to every patient and is best suited to meet the individual needs. The treatment plan may include the following options.
Different types of surgery options can be used as per the identified stage of colorectal cancer. Surgery can be divided into two major segments: Early stage colorectal cancer surgery and advanced stage colorectal cancer surgery.
Early stage colorectal cancer surgery: This is a minimally-invasive form of surgery, which is typically recommended when the cancer is small and has not spread to other parts of the body.
Early stage colorectal cancer surgery includes the following procedures:
This is a more invasive surgical option, recommended when cancer has grown into or through your colon. It can be of the following types:
In chemotherapy treatment, an anti-cancer drug is used to destroy the cancerous cells. It is commonly used before surgery, in an attempt to shrink a tumor before its surgical removal. It can also be given to relieve symptoms of colon cancer, in case it has spread to other parts of the body.
A certain number of chemotherapy cycles are also repeated after the surgery to kill the remaining cancer cells. This helps minimize the chances of cancer recurrence.
In this treatment, radiation beams such as X-ray or proton beam are used to kill cancer cells. It also prevents cancer cells from multiplying any further. This treatment is more commonly used for rectal cancer treatment before surgery to shrink the tumor. It can also be used after the surgery. Radiation therapy is the best treatment if cancer has penetrated through the wall of the rectum or traveled to nearby lymph nodes.
Targeted drug therapy is typically used for people with advanced colon cancer. It can be given alone or in combination with chemotherapy. Specific drugs help cancer cells commit suicide and strengthen the immune system. However, this treatment comes with limited benefits and risk of side effects.
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