The last part of the digestive system is the colon. It is also known as large intestine.
Colon cancer is developed from colon or rectum. It is also known as colorectal or bowel cancer. It generates from the abnormal growth of cells having the ability to spread around inside the body. Almost all types of colon cancers initiate in the lining of the colon and rectum.
Colon cancer is not necessarily similar to the rectal cancer. Both of them often occur together and known as colorectal cancer. The Colon cancer is the cancer of large intestine often known as colorectal cancer. Rectal cancer originates in the rectum, which is close to the anus.
There are many risk factors responsible for the generation of colon cancer. These include high fat intake, male gender, old age, obesity, consumption of red and processed meat, high alcohol consumption and lack of body movements. Insufficient activity is also one of the causes of colon cancer in some cases. Inflammatory bowel disease patients are prone to get colorectal cancer.
The classic early warning signs of Colon cancer include:
Symptoms of the Colon cancer are listed below
There are chances of having genetic birth defects which make one susceptible to cancer during some phase of life. Family history is a risk factor in occurrence of Colon cancer. It has been reported that people with family history of Colon cancer in two or more first degree relatives i.e., parents or siblings, are at high risk of this disease.Genetic syndromes associated with colorectal cancer are given below:
It is possible for colorectal cancer patients to live a normal life. Though there is availability of treatments with positive outcomes, combination of treatments may be needed for prevention of recurrence of the cancer. Combination of treatments may involve chemotherapy, radiation and surgical methods.
Even before the symptoms develop, colon cancer can be detected with the aid of screening tests. This is possible in the most curable stage of cancer. Rectal examination helps detecting only rectal cancer and not the colon cancer. Tests used for colon cancer diagnosis are discussed below.
Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy - Colonoscopy is the best screening test for colon cancer diagnosis. This is carried out for evaluation of cause behind the presence of blood in stool. The entire colon can be seen only with the help of full Colonoscopy.Blood tests performed for the diagnosis of colon cancer are given below:
Fecal occult blood test - Detection of small quantity of blood can be done using Fecal occult blood test (FOBT).
Complete blood count (CBC) for the detection of anemia
Liver function tests Once colon cancer is diagnosed, further tests are required to confirm the stage of the cancer. For stage determination, CT or MRI scans of abdomen, chest, brain as well as pelvic area are carried out.
There are following stages of cancer:
Treatment of colon cancer depends on many things, including the stage of the cancer. Treatments may include:
Based on the extent of cancer observed during diagnosis and its recovery, survival rate can be decided. Response to the treatment may vary from person to person.
Screening involves process of finding the presence of cancer or pre-cancer signs in the patients. The most powerful way to fight against cancer in early stages is regular colorectal screening. According to medical literature, screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) helps in reducing CRC mortality rate.
Lifestyle and dietary changes are big factors while considering Colon cancer prevention. According to Medical research, high-fiber and low-fat diet helps in reducing colon cancer risk. Use of NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen and Celecoxib can aid in reducing colon cancer risk as per some studies. While using NSAIDS, their side effects need to be taken into consideration.
At early stages, it is possible to cure colon disease easily and this can be achieved with the help of Colonoscopy.
Palliative care helps in enhancing quality of life of patients with life threatening diseases along with their families. This care takes into consideration physical and well as psychological needs of patients. Through palliative care, provision of support is done for the patients and their care takers.
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