Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer is initially characterized by the unprecedented and uncontrolled growth of the cells inside the colon of the large intestine. The healthy tissue around the colon tumor may be damaged to a great extent. A few benign colon polyps may develop into malignant tumors to finally result in cancer of the colon. These polyps are known as adenomatous polyps. If left untreated and not diagnosed in a timely fashion, the cancerous tumors may affect the bloodstream and lymph nodes to extend all parts of the body’s cells and damage them. At this point, the condition is called Metastasis and is extremely difficult to cure. As the cancer spreads around other parts of the body, the nature of damage and symptoms will change accordingly. The first target of metastasis in the case of colon cancer is usually, the liver.

The good news is that the early detection of polyps through Colonoscopy screenings and bowel stool testing may offer the opportunity to remove polys to prevent the risk that the polys will become cancerous over time.

What are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?

Over time, the symptoms may become more serious.

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Pain and cramps in the abdomen
  • Gas in the abdomen
  • Frequent urge to have a bowel movement (defecate).
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of energy
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Weight loss
  • Iron deficiency
  • Narrow stools
  • Blood in stools
  • Rectal bleeding

Your Physician Consultation

Colon cancer diagnosis requires a much deeper insight into the medical and family history of the individual through a Q and A with Your Doctor.  A detailed diagnosis usually starts after the doctor has performed Colonoscopy and barium enema X-rays. If the imaging shows polyps or dark tumors, then differential diagnosis for colon cancer becomes even more important.

During Colonoscopy, any identified polyps may be biopsied or removed. Then, the tissue from the biopsy or the polyps is sent to a lab detailed examination under a microscope.

If cancer is suspected, other tests to identify if the cancer has spread may be performed, including, but not necessarily limited to:  Chest X-Rays, Lung Imaging, CT Scans and more. Blood tests are also performed to identify the carcinoembyonic antigen presence that normally occurs in a cancer. To identify the stage of the colon cancer, a standard TNM system is employed, meaning:

  • T- Size and extent of primary tumor
  • N-The degree of the spread of cancer near the lymph nodes
  • M-The extent of metastasis

Other Condition Links

Other diseases that may indicate a predictive risk for colon cancer or may be associated with colon cancer may include:

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disorder
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Colon polyps
  • Crohn’s disease

Colon Cancer Treatment

The treatment of colon cancer may be divided into four stages, including:

·         Surgery: One of three types of surgeries may be performed, depending upon the extent in which the cancer has spread. This includes: Advanced, Invasive and Early Stage Colon Cancer Surgery.

·         Chemotherapy: After surgery, chemotherapy is used to burn and kill the excessive cancerous cells.

·         Radiation therapy: Powerful radiation sources such as X-rays and gamma rays are used to shrink large tumors and destroy smaller ones.

Targeted drug therapy: Drugs such as Cetuximab, Panitumumab etc, may be used at specific sites to treat colon cancer.

Colon Cancer Outcome

The prognosis of colon cancer depends upon the stage of the cancer.  A stage wise analysis is given below based on a five year survival rate. Survival may be much longer in numerous cases.

STAGE——————————5 YEAR SURVIVAL RATE

I           —————————– 74%

II         —————————— 67%

III       ——————————-46%

IV       ——————————–4%

Next Visit, Q and A for Your Doctor

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.