Cancer of the colon refers to diseases that are unfortunately becoming more common every year, so it will be helpful to learn more about its features, in order to prevent or time to carry out the treatment.
This is the most serious disease that can affect this body, thus, good awareness and awareness become without exaggeration the issue of life and death. And in our today’s article, we’re just going to talk about colon cancer .
Colorectal cancer today is one of the main causes of death of adults in developed countries such as the United States. But early diagnosis of this terrible disease can ensure its complete cure . The development of this type of cancer begins, usually with the shell of the organ or rectum.
What are the causes of colon cancer?
One single and equal for all reasons, as you can guess, does not exist. In the majority of patients, polyps (benign formations) first appear, which subsequently are transformed into malignant ones (this happens if the polyps greatly increase in size, and appropriate treatment is not provided).
The most at risk of developing colon cancer:
- Older people, aged after 60 years.
- Eastern Europeans or African Americans.
- Those who in large quantities consume red meat and sausages.
- People suffering from the presence of polyps in the colon or rectum.
- People suffering from such inflammatory bowel diseases as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
- Those who have had cases of cancer in the family (especially the so-called familial adenomatous polyposis).
- People in whose diet the amount of fat significantly exceeds the amount of fiber.
- Smokers and those who abuse alcoholic beverages.
- People suffering from overweight and obesity.
In Spain, for example, colon cancer ranks second in the number of deaths, and it occurs more often in men than women.
The appearance of polyps is not to be feared, only 10% of them “degenerate” into a cancerous tumor, but it is also unacceptable to let things go by themselves, time and appropriate treatment play a decisive role in this case.
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
They actually can vary depending on the location of the tumor:
- If the malignant formation is located in the left part of the colon, then the symptomatology is the following: diarrhea and constipation, a stool with blood, a feeling of incomplete emptying.
- If the tumor is in the transverse colon, the patient feels nausea and severe spasmodic pain, he has bloated and intestinal obstruction.
- If there is cancer in the right side of the colon, bleeding can be internal, hidden, while a person will feel constant fatigue, he will be pale and almost powerless.
In all of the above cases, the patient is likely to experience loss of appetite, a sharp decrease in body weight, fever, chronic fatigue, excessive sensitivity and soreness in the lower abdomen, as well as loose stools.
How can colon cancer be detected?
To determine and say for sure whether a person has cancer of the large intestine or his “predecessors” – polyps, can only be carried out by a medical examination. First, the doctor probes the abdomen and performs a rectal examination to reveal the protuberances (if any).
Blood in the stool can be detected and independently on a trip to the toilet, this, as already mentioned above, may indicate the development of colon cancer, but also other diseases. Other studies include a complete blood test and liver function tests.
Medical research, which allows you to see the “full picture”, that is, the entire intestine and entirely accurate answer to the question whether there are polyps or cancer, is called a colonoscopy. It is similar to a gastroscopy, using a tube with a chamber, the gut is examined for suspicious formations, which can be removed for subsequent analyzes.
If any injury does not allow the advancement of the medical device in the gut, an enema with barium is made so that the intestine can be seen through the X-ray.
If colon cancer is still diagnosed, then other studies are conducted so that you can see the tumor itself and determine at what stage of development it is (CT and MRI of the lower abdomen and abdominal cavity).
There are 5 stages of colon cancer:
- 0: initial, when the disease only manifests itself on the outer shell of the intestine.
- I: on the inner layers of the colon.
- II: Malignant formation goes beyond the walls of the colon.
- III: Cancer reaches the lymph nodes
- IV: Cancer spreads to other organs (metastasis).
Treatment will also be different, it will depend on several factors and, mainly, on the stage of the development of the disease. Surgical methods (colectomy) are used to remove cancer cells, chemotherapy to kill cancer cells and radiation therapy to destroy cancerous tissues.
Cancer of the large intestine can be cured if it is detected in the early stages and provides timely and correct treatment. In addition, the result will depend on the age of the patient, his immune system and other factors. If after a lapse of 5 years after the treatment of relapse does not occur, then we can talk about the complete cure of the patient.
Early detection and prevention of colon cancer
For the early detection of this type of cancer, there are various programs around the world, since at the beginning of its development the symptoms can be mistaken for another disease. Therefore, people over 50 years of age are recommended to take an annual test for analysis (to reveal the blood hidden in it).
If the family had cases of cancer, then the measures should be more serious, since 40 years it is desirable every year to do endoscopy. If the result is negative, you can repeat the procedure in two years, and if it is positive, you will need to do a colonoscopy, which we mentioned above.
As for prevention, scientific research shows that proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. Ideal is a diet low in fat and a small amount of red meat, it should predominate in the dietary fiber.
And if you start to notice any anxious symptoms or have difficulty coming to the toilet, do not waste time and seek medical help as soon as possible.