Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a malignant neoplasm that develops in the large intestine or the rectum. This can develop due to environmental and hereditary factors.
What are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?
The main symptom of this kind of disease is an accumulation of blood within the feces, which shows as dark-colored stools or bright red stools. Other possible symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Chronic fatigue
What Causes Colon Cancer? Colon cancer can be caused by smoking or eating low in fiber and high in fat. One cause could be faulty genes, such as having HNPCC (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer), which causes about 5% of cases.
How to Prevent Colon Cancer?
One way to prevent developing this disease is by increasing the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables containing dietary fibers since they are known to maintain wellness. Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy (a unique tool used to look inside the rectum and the large intestine, mainly its lower part) can help check for any abnormal changes, preventing colon cancer.
Is Colon Cancer Curable?
The good news is that colon cancer has higher cure rates than other cancers such as liver cancer and pancreatic cancer.Colon cancer has a 5-year survival rate of 64%, which is higher than the 39% for pancreatic cancer and only 4% for liver cancer. Colon cancer can be cured by surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
How do you treat Colon Cancer?
Surgery: It is the most common treatment for colon cancer since it successfully cures about 90% of patients. The surgical procedures usually done are traditional open surgery or minimally invasive surgery such as laparoscopic surgery. In both types, surgeons must cut through the abdomen to remove any abnormal tissues from the colon using a scalpel or scissors during open surgery.
In contrast, small tools with cameras on them are inserted into the abdominal cavity to remove abnormal tissues during laparoscopic surgery. Treatment usually requires the removal of a part or all of the colon during surgery. Consequently, patients who have undergone this kind of surgery will need a healthy diet containing good fiber.
Chemotherapy: This method proves moderately effective in treating colon cancer since it can cure about 5% to 10% of patients with metastatic disease (a condition in which cancer cells are found in distant organs through blood and lymph systems). Chemotherapy involves injecting chemicals directly into the bloodstream, ensuring that these chemicals reach the entire body, including the bones and tissues inside organs. This method is used for advanced cases of colorectal cancer, mostly when tumors start growing outside the gastrointestinal tract.
Radiation Therapy: Colon cancer treatment can also use radiation, which uses high-energy X-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells. Colon cancer treatment may include external beam radiation therapy, where large radiation beams focus on tumors in the abdomen through a particular machine outside the body. Another method is brachytherapy, which involves placing thin plastic tubes filled with radioactive seeds into abnormal tissues during surgery then removed one week after the treatment while leaving the seeds in place for several minutes. Colon Cancer Treatment After Surgery
When should you get a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy after Surgery Colonoscopies are essential tools for colon cancer detection because they allow doctors to look inside the entire length of your colon. Colon examinations are done to identify any irregularities inside the colon, an early sign of cancer. Colon cancer is more curable when found earlier on during treatment since the chances of curing it are higher compared with later stages of cancer.