Colon cancer is a serious disease that poses many challenges to the patients. Maybe, you care so much about colon cancer or colorectal cancer, and you want to be sure that you are safe from it. You need to understand what colorectal cancer is and the risk factors for colon cancer. You should also check out for the signs and symptoms that may signify that you suffer from the condition. The article will deliberate about colon cancer/ colorectal cancer and why it will be important to do a cancer screening.
You will do this with your doctor’s help to advise you on what to do if you are at risk and what you should do if you don’t have it to avoid future encroachments of such issues. Keep reading this insightful article that will impart you with all the necessary facts about colon cancer. You will learn about the risk factors and the available treatment options that will relieve you from this serious cancer.
A Quick Overview of Colon Cancer
So what is colon cancer? There are quite several cancer issues, and one of them is colon cancer. Cancer begins in the colon, which is the final part of the digestive tract. The disorder often affects older adults though this may not necessarily imply that it won’t affect young people.
When you take a cancer screening on the colon, it may be possible to see the small, noncancerous clumps of cells. Another name for these cells is polyps. The cells from inside the colon, but with time turns into cancerous cells. Since the polyps are very tiny, they may not produce any signs and symptoms of cancer; that is why physicians always recommend cancer screening, identifying, and removing polyps.
When you develop colon cancer, many treatment procedures are available, including surgery, radiation therapy, and drug treatments. Colon cancer sometimes is referred to as colorectal cancer, which combines both rectal and colon cancer. Studies show that colorectal cancer is increasing among the young population, though the treatment practices are also improving. The survival rate is again rising, therefore, signifying an improvement.
What are Colon Cancer Risk Factors and Causes?
Notably, colon cancer remains to be the third common cancer diseases affecting Americans. There are specific risk factors that increase the chances of colon cancer. They include;
- First, Old age is the leading risk factor that may increase your chances of acquiring cancer. The diagnosis of colon cancer is common with people above 50 years of age through the below 50 cancer patients are growing.
- There is also speculation that the African American race people do have greater chances of getting cancer.
- Patients who have previously had noncancerous polyps stand a greater chance of getting colorectal cancer.
- Some conditions, such as chronic inflammatory diseases, do poses a great risk to patients. People suffering from these conditions are susceptible to colorectal cancer.
- Inherited syndromes that come from genes will also cause colorectal cancer. Some gene mutations are often passed to family members, which has again proven to be the lead reason for cancer. If your family members have a colon cancer history, you may likely suffer from the same condition.
- Some types of diets can also cause colorectal cancer, such as the low-fiber, higher-fat diet. The increased risk of colon cancer is linked to people who eat high red meat and processed meat.
- Inactive people are prone to colorectal cancer. You can increase your activity levels to avoid the risk of cancer.
- Other lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, taking alcohol may also cause cancer. You can reduce the amount of alcohol and opt to quit smoking completely to
- be safe from the conditions
- Conditions such as diabetes and obesity are also risk factors for colon cancer.
- Radiation therapy also increases the chances of cancer.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer?
It may not be easy noticing the cancer symptoms at the early stages. Colon cancer does not show cancer signs earlier, therefore necessitating the need for regular screening. You can do this depending on your age and the family history to not allow for any chances of growth.
The leading signs of colon cancer that you must always check includes
- Rectal bleeding which is evident in the blood in your stool
- If your bowel habits begin changing and you start experiencing diarrhea, constipation
- or even narrow stools for some days, then you should be ready for a colon cancer screening
- If you experience unexplained abdominal pain or even some types of cramping that last for some days, then it may be a sign of colorectal cancer
- The persistent urge for a bowel movement
- Unexplained weight loss
Notably, the signs may not directly imply that you have colorectal cancer but may be a sign of it. The colon cancer symptoms may not be universal to all, and therefore consult your doctor when you have them. The typical age to begin cancer screening is 50 years, though you can also do it when you are young and start experiencing the signs and symptoms of cancer.
What Tests Can Be Done to Detect and Diagnose Colon Cancer?
Now that you know colon cancer symptoms to check out, you find the mechanisms that can be used to detect colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer can be diagnosed during colonoscopy. It’s part of the routines screening for individuals between 45 to 50 years. The colonoscopy process involves the scanning of the up normal areas in the colon and polyps. The pathologist will then examine the tissues obtained during biopsy to confirm colorectal cancer’s existence.
Another test includes Genomic profiling, where the test will be performed to see if the condition can be targeted using precision medicines. In instances where the cancer is identified, further tests shall be conducted to confirm the spread or rather the spread.
Once the evaluation is complete, the doctor will then perform surgery to remove the cells’ cancerous tissues. The surgery is performed through an abdominal incision or a laparoscope. There is an advantage of laparoscopic surgery because it is less invasive and involves surgical instruments’ insertion. The process also is easy to recover from and therefore making it the favorite for most patients.
Patients are responsible for discussing the best methods that can easily help them recover from colon cancer because there are many options to choose from.
What are the Stages of Colon Cancer?
There are five stages of colon cancer. First, stage one is confined to the linings or rather the walls of the colon.
For stage two, cancer will have penetrated the colon walls and is now extending into the abdominal cavity. Here it may adjust to other organs but won’t invade the lymph nodes.
At stage three, cancer has well defined a di beginning to invade one of the lymph nodes but do not extend to other distant organs.
The fourth stage will mean that colorectal cancer is already investing in other adjacent organs such as the liver, bones, and even the lungs.
The final stage now is the Recurrent/relapsed setting where cancer may have progressed o rather returned following previous treatment.
Treatment Options for Colon Cancer
Let us now explore the possible treatment options for colon cancer. Every stage has its specific treatment procedure, and the choice of treatment will be determined by the location you are in. the age and the overall health status shall also determine the nature of the treatment you will undergo.
Notably, there is no single treatment for cancer. Still, you will only be depending on surgery to remove the cancerous cells or chemotherapy and radiation therapy to remove the cancer cells and prevent them from spreading.
Let’s take a look at the available con cancer treatment options that your doctor will suggest for you.
Surgery is a process that aims at removing the whole or part of the colon, through a colectomy process. A surgeon will incise part of the colon with the cancer cells while ensuring all these kinds of cells are removed around the area. The nearby lymph nodes will be drawn to protect against spreading or rather becoming the path for spread. The surgeon will have options to reattach the healthy portions or create a stoma. The decision will solely depend on the extent of cancer.
Now, if your doctor decides to create a stoma, the waste will pass into a bag hence removing the need for the lower part of the colon, a colostomy process. Other surgical processes available for colon cancer treatment includes
- Laparoscopic surgery where the doctor makes several small incisions in the stomach as an option to remove larger polyps
- Endoscopy is another process that may be effective in removing cancer from the colon. The doctor removes small cancer cells and then inserts a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera which attaches at the end. It also has some attachments that will remove cancerous tissues.
- Palliative surgery aims at relieving symptoms in instances where cancer has reached untreatable stages. The surgeon’s attempts to reduce may cause blockage and also manage pain and bleeding.
Chemotherapy is another famous cancer treatment option. The cancer care team administers medications that interfere with the process of cell division in the body. The caregivers will achieve this because they are targeting the DNA cells to kill the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cells, including healthy cells. Notably, healthy cells will recover from this, but cancer cells will not.
Cancer specialists often referred to as oncologists, will recommend chemotherapy to treat colon cancer if it spreads. The chemotherapy medicines will travel through the whole body, and the body will heal since it travels in the cycle.
There are the side effects that associates with chemotherapy and they include
- Hair loss
- Radiation therapy
This therapy is yet another con cancer treatment option that kills cancer cells. The process focuses on high energy gamma rays on the cancerous cells. The doctor can opt to use an internal radiation process where the doctor will implant radioactive materials near cancer cells in the form of a seed. The decision to use radiation therapy as the treatment will solely depend on the doctor. There are several sources of the rays, such as the Radium metals and the high energy X-rays.
Colon cancer conditions will only need radiation therapy in the last stages. However, they can use them if the early stage rectal has already penetrated the rectum wall or is already investing in the nearby lymph nodes.
Radiation therapy will pose the side effects such as;
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
- Vomiting and
- Mild skin changes like sunburns.
It is important to note that it may not be possible to get a full colon cancer treatment, but the procedures will only reduce the colon cancer symptoms. It is important to screen cancer so that it can be treated during the initial stages.
What is Colon Cancer Survival Rates?
Colorectal cancer can get lasting medication when you detect it earlier. The death rate from eth colon cancer was 54% during the 2017 report. The improved treatment options are the reasons for the decrease in death rates. People are now routinely-screened for cancer at the risky age of 50.
Overall, there is a five-year survival rate of colon cancer. This is just an average rate through the survival rate, so the patients will solely depend on the immune responses to the medications. The stage will also determine the survival rate. Patients who discover rectal cancer can survive it even for a longer period because either doctor will remove the cancerous cells before they spread.
On the contrary, the colorectal cancer survival rate is low in patients who discover it later. It is, therefore, important to do a cancer screening so that you can get earlier treatment.
To conclude, find information about colon cancer can be very sketchy. You need to read it from knowledgeable sources that impart you with real insights. Notably, cancer screening remains to be the only refuge for those who are experiencing colorectal cancer symptoms. Colorectal cancer awareness is another important practice that will also date many people from the disorder’s dangers.
The lifestyle factors for colon cancer are avoidable, therefore you can avoid them so that you don’t expose yourself to a greater risk of the disease. Understand the colorectal cancer causes, especially the colorectal cancer age, and get the proper care that will protect you against it
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