Colon Cancer: Everything You Need To Know About The Disease

People over the age of 50 should have an annual checkup to detect colon cancer as early as possible. A healthy lifestyle is essential to prevent it.
Colon cancer: everything you need to know about the disease

Colon cancer  is an increasingly common disease and it is worth knowing something about it to prevent and treat it as early as possible. Since this is the most serious disease that can affect the colon, it is important to know as much as you can about  colon cancer . This article will explain everything you need to know.

Rectal cancer is one of the most common causes of death in countries like the United States. Early diagnosis can lead to a complete cure. Colon cancer begins in extension of the small intestine and rectum.

What are the warning signs of colon cancer?

There is no single cause for this disease. Most patients first experience benign polyps that turn into cancer if left untreated or allowed to grow larger. People who are most at risk of developing colon cancer are:

  • Over 60 years.
  • Of African-American or Eastern European descent.
  • Consume a lot of processed or red meat.
  • Has colorectal polyps.
  • Have an inflammatory bowel disease such as colitis or Crohn’s disease.
  • Have a family history (especially if there were cases of familial adenomatous polyposis).
  • Eat a high-fat, low-fiber diet.
  • Those who smoke or drink too much.
  • Are obese or  overweight.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death in Spain and is more common in men than women. Only 10% of polyps turn into cancer, but they need to be treated before it is too late.

Colon cancer does not appear until late in the course, so you need to be aware of when your symptoms may be colon cancer.

What are the warning signs of colon cancer?

Symptoms may vary depending on the location of the tumor in the intestine:

  • If it is located in the left colon, the symptoms are bloody stools, diarrhea and constipation, and feeling of incomplete emptying.
  • If it is located in the transverse colon: pain, blockage, cramps, vomiting and bloating.
  • If found in the right colon: internal bleeding, chronic  anemia, fatigue, pallor and feeling weak.

In each case, colon cancer can cause loss of appetite, drastic weight loss, fever, chronic fatigue, tenderness and pain in the abdomen as well as thin stools.

How is colon cancer detected?

There are medical tests that can determine if a person has colon cancer (or its predecessor: polyps). A doctor presses / palpates the abdominal area, in addition to conducting a rectal examination, to feel for lumps in the area.

The stool can also be tested for the presence of blood, which may indicate colon cancer (as well as other diseases). Other tests check the  blood  for anemia and liver function.

A colonoscopy allows the doctor to see the entire bowel and check for cancer or polyps. With this test, the entire intestinal tract can be observed and samples of suspicious tissue can be taken for later analysis. If a colonoscopy cannot be performed, a barium enema is used to see a silhouette of the colon on X-rays.

colonoscopy

If the diagnosis is colon cancer, other tests can determine the extent of the cancer and if it has spread using computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the abdominal cavity and lower abdomen.

There are 5 stages of colon cancer:

  • o: it is formed on the outer layers of the intestine
  • In: inner layer of the colon.
  • II: has spread through the wall of the colon.
  • III: the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
  • IV: the cancer has spread to other organs (metastasis).

Treatment depends on many factors, such as the stage and location of the disease. Treatments vary in severity and include surgery to remove cancer cells; chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells and radiation therapy to destroy cancerous tissue. Colon cancer can be cured if it is detected and treated early enough.

The prognosis also depends on the age of the patient, the immune system, the stage at which the treatment started, etc. If five years have passed after the treatment and the cancer has not reappeared, the patient is said to be cured.

Early diagnosis and prevention of colon cancer

There are many methods available for early detection of colon cancer, but in the initial stages, the symptoms can be confused with other diseases. People over 50 are recommended to have their stools tested annually for signs of blood. Major preventive measures should be taken if there is a family history of cancer, including endoscopy starting at age 40 and repeated every two years. If the results are positive, a colonoscopy can be performed as described earlier.

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