Get the Facts on Colon & Colorectal Cancer
There is no one who wishes to be told they have cancer. The effect on themselves and their family is devastating. People who contract cancer are typically in for the absolute fight for their lives at this point. Research continues to be done, but there are still no cures for the plague of life that is cancer.
Colon cancer is tied to the digestive tract. Anyone who exhibits any symptoms should immediately go to their doctor and get tested. The only thing worse than getting colon cancer is not getting treatment for it immediately! Colon cancer screenings typically begin around the age of 50, however doctors may choose to begin them earlier depending on risk factors each person may have.
What Causes Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer comes from clumps of cells that attach to the colon. These clumps of cells are usually completely mundane. However, occasionally these cells (which are called adenomatous polyps) can mutate and turn into cancerous tumors.
Since there are very few symptoms, removing polyps before they can potentially become colon cancer is crucial. Thankfully, polyps can be found out before they turn into cancer. They can be removed! Regular screening is crucial so speak with your physician about it!
Colon Cancer Symptoms
While early stages of colon cancer tend to not display symptoms, there are also many symptoms which can appear. These symptoms need to be responded to quickly. Here are some of the symptoms that people should keep an eye out for:
Unexplained Weight Loss - While some may hope for unexpected weight loss, it’s a symptom which often tends to be part of a more major issue.
Rectal Bleeding - Bleeding from the rectum or finding amounts of blood in the stool can prove to be very disconcerting.
Abdominal Discomfort - This is a persistent case of things like cramps, gas or pain that is consistently affecting the person.
Fatigue - People with colon cancer may find that they suffer from incredible fatigue and a general weakness. This lack of strength will only continue to accrue.
Bowel Habit Changes - This is one of the most common issues. A person’s bowels may switch from normal bowel movements to diarrhea or constipation. It may also seemingly switch between those two repeatedly for minimal reason.
Colon Cancer Stages
Like other forms of cancer, colon cancer has many different stages. Typically they range from stages 1 to 4. Each uses the letter T in front of it as well. However there is also a T0 for colon cancer.
The stage is measured by the primary tumor and to determine just how far it has progressed. T1 for example shows that the tumor has grown into the lining of the colon. T4a has the tumor growing through the entire colon, whereas T4b has the tumor growing into other organs or body parts nearby. Both stage 4 cancers are incredibly serious conditions.
Colon Cancer Treatment
The type of treatment that someone with colon cancer is going to receive is based upon the advancement of the cancer. If the cancer is still during very early stages, it’s possible a small and quick surgery can remove it. Doctors could even take care of it during a colonoscopy in the very first stages. For any polyps that have gone farther, it will require more intense surgery.
Surgery is typically the first treatment for colon cancer. When that is completed, then chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be required. This is because typically it’s more useful in assisting if the colon cancer has spread elsewhere like the lymph nodes. The chemotherapy also reduces the potential for a recurrence of the cancer.