Articles Colon Cancer

Colon cancer, also known as bowel cancer, is when abnormal cells in your colon multiply and form into a mass or tumor. The most common type of this tumor to be malignant is called adenocarcinoma. This article explores the stages of colon cancer, symptoms, and treatments, hoping to help you know "the enemy."

Colon Cancer Symptoms

When you have colon cancer, you may experience any number of symptoms such as:

  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Foul-smelling stool (poop)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Fatigue (lack of energy)
  • Pain in the lower back/side/abdomen
  • Swollen feet/ankles
  • Rectal bleeding

Remember that these symptoms can also be symptoms of other ailments - not just cancer. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above for more than a few days, it is essential to go to your doctor.

What Are The Stages Of Colon Cancer?

There are seven stages of colon cancer. The stage of your cancer refers to how far it has spread in the body. The further away from the colon that the tumor is, the later the step will be.

Stage 1: Cancer cells are limited to one area or side of the colon

Stage 2: Cancer cells have spread into nearby tissues, but not to lymph nodes or other organs.

Stage 3: Cancer may have grown outside of the wall of the colon and reached nearby tissue but hasn't yet invaded significant blood vessels or spread to distant sites (metastasized)

Stages 4 - 6 usually involve metastasis into tissue near or distant from the directly affected site.

Stage 7: The tumor has metastasized throughout the body significantly enough to cause signs and symptoms of the cancer

What If I Need Surgery For Colon Cancer?

Suppose you receive a diagnosis of colon cancer and choose to undergo treatment (surgery) as your method of choice. In that case, you will first need to meet with your doctor to determine what is known as your surgical risk.

You will want to be as honest as possible about any preoperative conditions such as diabetes or smoking history that may complicate your surgery.

Other factors can include:

Your surgeon will also want to know about any recovery conditions such as:

  • Heart rate (tachycardia) below 60 bpm
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Obesity (body mass index greater than 40)
  • Liver dysfunction above normal levels
  • Diabetes that is difficult to control
  • Respiratory insufficiency (dyspnea at rest)
  • Anemia (red blood cell count lower than 4.5 million per cubic millimeter)

There are several treatments and surgeries you will need to discuss with your doctor, depending on the colon cancer.

Some examples include:

Colon Cancer Treatment

Depending on the stage and location of metastasized cancer, you may find yourself in a situation where a treatment option is not surgery but chemotherapy or radiation.

Chemotherapy and radiation involve killing cancer cells; however, chemotherapy is administered more directly into the bloodstream and works to kill off any remaining cancerous cells in the body. In contrast, radiation targets a specific area of your body, such as your colon or rectum, where significant cell death happens as a result.

Another treatment option for some colon cancer patients (not all) is Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is developing more rapidly than other treatments since it treats the immune system instead of external factors like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Is It Time For a Colonoscopy? GI Associates Can Help

If you or someone you love needs to get checked or diagnosed, know that specialized help is available. GI Associates & Endoscopy Center, located in Jackson, MS., features an experienced team of digestive health specialists.

GI Associates & Endoscopy Center offers cutting-edge treatments and forward-thinking care for digestive issues, including colon cancer. For further details surrounding colon cancer, colonoscopies, or exploring treatment options, reach out to our practice in Jackson, MS.

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