Colon cancer: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments of Colon Cancer

RICHARD G 6:24:00 AM

Colon cancer: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments of Colon Cancer. Colon cancer is a malignant tumor in the colon. The most common symptom of colon cancer is bloody bowel movements. This disease often originates from a benign tumor called a polyp.
Colon cancer Symptoms
To date, the cause of colon cancer is not yet known clearly. However there are some things that are suspected to increase the risk of a person suffering from colon cancer, among others do not like to eat fiber, rarely exercise, and smoking.
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The earlier is detected, the likelihood of colon cancer to heal will also be greater. Therefore, people who are at risk of developing colon cancer are recommended to routinely have themselves checked into a doctor from ages 45 years old.

Causes of colon cancer

Colon cancer is caused by alteration or mutation of genes in the colon tissue. However, the cause of the mutation is not yet identified.
Although the cause is unknown, there are several lifestyles that are suspected to increase the risk of a person being exposed to colon cancer, among others:
  • Diet less fiber
  • Consuming too much red meat and fat
  • Smoking
  • Consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Infrequent exercise
In addition, there are some conditions or diseases that also make a person suffer from colon cancer, namely:
  • Aged over 50 years old.
  • Have a parent or sibling who suffers from colon cancer.
  • Suffer from intestinal polyps.
  • Experiencing excess weight or obesity.
  • Suffer from diabetes.
  • Suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Never undergo radiotherapy in the abdomen.
  • It suffers from a genetic disorder called the Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome.

Colon cancer Symptoms

The symptoms of colon cancer in the early stages sometimes do not feel or do not even appear at all. However, there are some symptoms that may arise in early colon cancer, namely:
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Cramps or abdominal pain
  • Change in the shape and color of feces
  • Bloody bowel movements
If you are already entering the advanced stage, patients with colon cancer may experience symptoms in the form of:
  • Fatigue
  • Often feel incomplete bowel movements
  • Changes in stools that occur more than a month
  • Drastic weight loss
When colon cancer has spread to other parts of the body, symptoms may arise:
  • Jaundice (jaundice)
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling of the arms and limbs
  • Headache
  • Fractures
  • Shortness of breath
When to go to a doctor
As has been said before, patients with colon cancer at first could not feel the symptoms at all. Therefore, starting from the age of 45 years, you are advised to consult a physician to assess the risk of developing colon cancer, as well as to conduct routine screening of colon cancer according to doctor's advice.

You should also consult a doctor if you feel a complaint that may be a symptom of colon cancer, such as:
  • Recurrent diarrhea or constipation.
  • Experiencing changes in the shape and color of feces.
  • Often feel the defecation is not complete.
  • Bloody bowel movements.

Colon cancer Diagnosis

To find out if a patient suffers from colon cancer, the doctor will ask the patient for symptoms. The doctor will also ask if the patient suffers from a disease that can increase the risk of developing colon cancer, as well as tracing the health history of the patient's family.

After that, the doctor will conduct a physical examination and examination of supporting examination, such as:

Endoscopy is performed by a gastroenterologist to see the condition of the colon, using a special tool in the form of a flexible hose with the camera at its end, which is inserted through the anus. Examination with this tool is called colonoscopy.

In addition to the flexible hose, there is also an endoscopy with a camera capsule media that must be swallowed by the patient, to see the entire digestive tract.

Intestinal biopsy
A biopsy is an examination by taking a sample of intestinal tissue to be examined under a microscope, in order to see the presence of malignant cells (cancer).

A biopsy can be performed during colonoscopy examination, or during surgery on the stomach to remove most of the colon.

To find out how far cancer has spread, as well as to assess the function of other organs and the success of treatment, the doctor will do the examination:

X-ray photographs are performed to see the condition of the colon. In order to make the results clearer, the patient will be asked to drink a solution of special color substances (contrast) first.

CT Scan
CT scans are conducted to see the condition of the colon and surrounding tissues in more detail.

Blood test
Blood tests can provide information on the functioning of various organs before the oncology performs treatment, such as the number of blood cells, liver function, and kidney function. The doctor may also conduct a screening called CEA to assess the response to treatment.

Doctors recommend people who are at high risk of developing colon cancer to undergo regular colon cancer screening. The goal is that if cancer arises, it can be dealt with immediately.

Colon cancer screening

Colon cancer screening is recommended in men and women aged 45 years and above. Some of the recommended checks are:
  • Stool inspection, every 1 year.
  • Colonoscopy, every 10 years.
  • CT scan of the stomach, every 5 years.
The examination can detect the presence of blood in the feces, or polyps in the intestines that can develop into colon cancer. Discuss with the doctor about the benefits and risks of each examination.

Colon cancer Stadium

Based on severity, colon cancer is divided into several stages, namely:

• Stage 1
At this stage, cancer only grows inside the colon.

• Stadium 2
At this stage, cancer has penetrated the colon wall.

• Stage 3
At this stage, cancer has spread to the lymph nodes located adjacent to the colon.

• Stadium 4
This stage is the most severe level of colon cancer, where cancer has spread far and attacks other organs, such as lungs or liver.

The stage of colon cancer will be determined after the doctor conducts the examination of the patient. The determination of this stage helps the doctor to plan the appropriate treatment.

Colon cancer treatment

Treatment of colon cancer is done according to the stage or the severity of cancer. Some of the types of treatment for coping with colon cancer are:

Surgery is performed to remove the tissue of cancer in the colon. The type of surgery performed depends on the severity and spread of cancer.

In surgery, the colon that has undergone cancer along with a small number of healthy tissues around it will be cut off and removed. After that, the colon will be connected to the rest of the colon leading to the anus, or directly connected to the artificial hole in the abdominal wall as a place of feces. This hole is called a stoma and is made through a colostomy operation.

Besides cutting the colon, surgery can also be done to remove lymph nodes that have been undermined by cancer.

Chemotherapy is a way to kill cancer cells through the administration of drugs in several cycles arranged by oncology doctor. Some examples of colon cancer drugs are oxaliplatin and irinotecan.

Radiotherapy is done to kill cancer cells by using radiation rays. This beam can be emitted from a device outside the body (external radiotherapy) or from a device installed near the location of cancer (internal radiotherapy).

Targeted Drug Therapies
Unlike chemotherapy that attacks cancer cells as well as healthy cells, the drug works by killing specific cancerous cells. Targeted drug therapies can be administered singly or combined with other treatment methods. Some medicines used, among others:
  • Regorafenib
  • Cetuximab
  • Bevacizumab
  • Ramucirumab
In general, patients suffering from colon and diagnosed cancer since the initial stage have higher levels of healing than those diagnosed in the final stage.

Patients who have been declared cured of colon cancer still have the risk of suffering from cancer back. To ensure that colon cancer does not reappear, the doctor will schedule regular control of the patient.

Colon cancer prevention

Colon cancer can be prevented by applying a healthy lifestyle. The possible ways to minimize the risk of developing this disease are:
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Consume foods that are rich in fiber, such as fruits.
  • Maintain ideal body weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce or avoid alcoholic beverages.
In addition, in order for colon cancer to be detected as early as possible, examination through screening is also necessary. This method of examination is highly recommended, especially for people who have a family with a history of colon cancer, as well as people aged 50 years and above.

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