Overview

A cancer of the colon or rectum, located at the digestive tract’s lower end.
Early cases can begin as non-cancerous polyps. These often have no symptoms but can be detected by screening. For this reason, doctors recommend screenings for those at high risk or over the age of 50.
Colorectal cancer symptoms depend on the size and location of the cancer. Some commonly experienced symptoms include changes in bowel habits, changes in stool consistency, blood in the stool and abdominal discomfort.

Colorectal cancer treatment depends on the size, location and how far the cancer has spread. Common treatments include surgery to remove the cancer, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of colon cancer are often nonspecific. In other words, signs and symptoms can occur due to a number of different conditions. If colon cancer is caught early, it may not have even caused symptoms. Symptoms can also vary depending on the specific location in the colon where the tumor is located.

Some symptoms and signs of colon cancer are

Narrow chairs

It can cause abdominal discomfort or pain, cramps or gas. Some people may also have abdominal pain, discomfort, gas, or cramps. When the cancer is more advanced, the nonspecific symptoms of colon cancer can be similar to those seen in people with other advanced cancers, such as:

  1. Weightloss,
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. fatigue,
  4. weakness,
  5. Nausea,
  6. Vomiting and
  7. Difficult breathing

Causes

There are several risk factors that increase a person’s chances of developing colon cancer. Factors that increase the risk of colon cancer include high fat intake (as with a typical Western diet), a family history of colon cancer and polyps, the presence of polyps in the colon, and inflammatory bowel disease, mainly chronic ulcerative colitis. Inherited colon cancer without polyposis (HNPCC) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) are inherited diseases that lead to the presence of polyps in the colon and an increased risk of colon cancer.

Types

Treatment

Surgery is the most common initial medical treatment for colon cancer. During the surgery, the tumor, a small margin of the surrounding healthy intestine, and nearby lymph nodes are removed. The surgeon then reconnects the healthy sections of the intestine. In patients with rectal cancer, the rectum is sometimes permanently removed if the cancer is too low in the rectum. The surgeon then creates an opening (colostomy) in the abdominal wall through which solid waste is removed from the large intestine. Specially trained nurses (enterostomal therapists) can help patients adjust to colostomies, and most patients with colostomies return to a normal lifestyle.

Surgical removal is recommended for early-stage colon cancer. Most people with early-stage colon cancer (stage I and most stage II) only require surgery. Some people with stage II cancer may receive chemotherapy, which factors suggest that their tumor is at increased risk of recurrence. Once colon cancer has spread to local lymph nodes (stage III), the risk that the cancer will return is still high, even after the surgeon has removed all visible signs of the cancer. This is due to a greater likelihood that the tiny cancer cells escaped before surgery and are too small to be detected by blood tests, scans, or even a direct exam at that point. Its presence is inferred from an increased risk of colon cancer recurring at a later date (relapse). Oncologists (medical oncologists) recommend additional colon cancer treatments with chemotherapy in this setting to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. The drugs used for chemotherapy enter the bloodstream and attack colon cancer cells that entered the blood or lymphatic system before surgery, trying to kill them before they colonize other organs. This strategy, known as adjuvant chemotherapy, has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence for all stage III colon cancer patients who are healthy enough to undergo it, as well as some patients with Stage III colon cancer is recommended. Higher risk II, whose tumor may have blocked or perforated the intestinal wall before the operation.

There are several adjuvant chemotherapy options available to treat colon cancer. Treatments include a combination of chemotherapy drugs that are given orally or into the veins. The treatments are usually carried out for a total of six months. It is important to meet with an oncologist who can explain the options of adjuvant chemotherapy, as well as the side effects to consider, in order to make the right decision for the individual patient.

Chemotherapy is usually given in a healthcare professional’s clinic, an outpatient hospital, or at home. Chemotherapy is usually given in courses of treatment, followed by periods of rest without treatment. The side effects of chemotherapy vary from person to person and also depend on the drugs administered. Modern chemotherapy drugs are generally well tolerated and the side effects are manageable for most people. In general, cancer drugs destroy cells that are growing and dividing quickly. Therefore, normal red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells, which also grow rapidly, can all be affected by chemotherapy. As a result, common side effects include anemia, loss of energy, and low resistance to infection. Cells in the hair roots and in the intestine also divide quickly. Therefore, chemotherapy can cause hair loss, mouth pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, but these effects are temporary.

Diagnosis

If your signs and symptoms suggest that you may have colon cancer, your doctor may recommend one or more tests and procedures, including:

Your doctor may also test your blood for a chemical that sometimes causes colon cancer (carcinoembryonic antigen, or CEA). If seen over time, the level of CEA in your blood can help your doctor understand your prognosis and determine if your cancer is responding to treatment.

Risk factor

Healthcare professionals are confident that colon cancer is not contagious (a person cannot get the disease from a cancer patient). Some people are more likely to develop colon cancer than others. Factors that increase a person’s risk for colon cancer include age, African American race, high fat intake, family history of colon cancer and polyps, the presence of polyps in the colon, and inflammatory bowel disease, mainly chronic ulcerative colitis.

When to use the doctor

Please note the restrictions before the appointment. When making an appointment, be sure to ask if there is anything you need to do in advance, such as: B. restricting your diet.
Write down any symptoms you experience, including any symptoms that may not be related to the reason you made the appointment.

How much cost

The median total colon cancer cost per Medicare patient was $ 29,196. The method can be applied to longitudinal data to estimate the long-term cost of cancer from baseline by identifying incidental patients from a tumor registry.

Duration

The median duration of symptoms (from onset to diagnosis) was 14 weeks (interquartile range 5-43). We found no association between the general duration of symptoms and the stage of the tumor. The patient’s age, gender, and proximal cancer site were also not associated with prolonged duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis.