In recognition of Dress in Blue Day and Colon Cancer Awareness Month this March, Dr. Darrell Wadas spoke with BetterTV this past Friday to remind people about the importance of getting yourself screened for colon cancer. Watch the video below to better understand your own risk factors for colon cancer. If you have been noticing any of these symptoms on a loved one or even yourself, then don’t hesitate to visit an urgent care clinic for a screening.
Colon Cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the US, but is preventable when caught early. With colonoscopy, our gastroenterologists are able to detect and remove polyps before they threaten your health. Colonoscopy screenings are recommended for individuals aged 50 and over, or younger if you have symptoms or family history of colon cancer. A healthy diet can help you prevent Colon Cancer, check these meticore reviews.
Our physicians and staff are happy to answer any questions you have about colon cancer and colonoscopy. To speak with one of our board certified gastroenterologists, you can reach out to our locations directly by phone, or complete the appointment request form we have online.-
Healthy, age-appropriate individuals may also be interested in our Open Access Colonoscopy program available at some locations. This program allows qualifying patients to schedule a colonoscopy procedure without the need for a pre-procedure visit.
Colon cancer develops when tumorous growths develop in the large intestine. It is now the third most common type of cancer in the United States.
The colon, or large intestine, is where the body draws out water and salt from solid wastes. The waste then moves through the rectum and exits the body through the anus.
Colon cancer is also the third most common cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. In fact, in 2019, the American Cancer Society (ACS) predict that 101,420 people in the U.S. will receive a new diagnosis of colon cancer.
Healthcare professionals recommend attending regular screenings for colon cancer from the age of 50 years.
Colorectal cancer, which describes co-occurring colon cancer and rectal cancer, is also common. Rectal cancer originates in the rectum, which is the final several inches of the large intestine, closest to the anus.
In this article, we look at how to recognize and treat colon cancer, why it develops, and how to prevent it.
Colon cancer often causes no symptoms in the earliest stages. However, symptoms may become more noticeable as it progresses.
These signs and symptoms may include:
- diarrhea or constipation
- changes in stool consistency
- loose, narrow stools
- blood in the stool, which may or may not be visible
- abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, or gas
- continual urges to defecate despite passing stools
- weakness and fatigue
- unexplained weight loss
- irritable bowel syndrome
- iron deficiency anemia
If the cancer spreads to a new location in the body, such as the liver, it can cause additional symptoms in the new area.
There are different ways of assigning a stage to cancer. The stages indicate how far a cancer has spread and the size of any tumors.
In colon cancer, the stages develop as follows:
- Stage 0: Also known as carcinoma in situ, at this point, the cancer is in a very early stage. It has not grown farther than the inner layer of the colon and will usually be easy to treat.
- Stage 1: The cancer has grown into the next layer of tissue but has not reached the lymph nodes or any other organs.
- Stage 2: The cancer has reached the outer layers of the colon, but it has not spread beyond the colon.
- Stage 3: The cancer has grown through the outer layers of the colon, and it has reached one to three lymph nodes. It has not spread to distant sites, however.
- Stage 4: The cancer has reached other tissues beyond the wall of the colon. As stage 4 progresses, colon cancer reaches distant parts of the body.
Treatment will depend on the type and stage of the colon cancer. A doctor will also take the age, overall health status, and other characteristics of the individual into consideration when deciding on the best treatment option. Check the latest nutrisystem reviews.
There is no single treatment for any cancer. The most common options for colon cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.-
The aim of treatment will be to remove the cancer, prevent its spread, and reduce any uncomfortable symptoms.
Surgery to remove part or all of the colon is called a colectomy. During this procedure, a surgeon will remove the part of the colon that contains the cancer, as well as some of the surrounding area.
For example, they will usually remove nearby lymph nodes to reduce the risk of spreading. The surgeon will then either reattach the healthy portion of the colon or create a stoma, depending on the extent of the colectomy.
A stoma is a surgical opening in the wall of the abdomen. Through this opening, waste passes into a bag, which removes the need for the lower part of the colon. This is called a colostomy.
Other types of surgery include:
- Endoscopy: A surgeon may be able to remove some small, localized cancers using this procedure. They will insert a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera attached. It will also have an attachment for removing cancerous tissue.
- Laparoscopic surgery: A surgeon will make several small incisions in the abdomen. This may be an option to remove larger polyps.
- Palliative surgery: The aim of this type of surgery is to relieve symptoms in cases of untreatable or advanced cancers. A surgeon will attempt to relieve any blockage of the colon and manage pain, bleeding, and other symptoms.
Here, learn more about endoscopy.
During chemotherapy, a cancer care team will administer medications that interfere with the cell division process. They achieve this by disrupting proteins or DNA to damage and kill cancer cells.
These treatments target any rapidly dividing cells, including healthy ones. These can usually recover from any chemotherapy induced damage, but cancer cells cannot.
A cancer specialist, or oncologist, will usually recommend chemotherapy to treat colon cancer if it spreads. The medicines travel through the whole body, and the treatment will take place in cycles, so the body has time to heal between doses.
Common side effects of chemotherapy include:
- hair loss
Combination therapies often use multiple types of chemotherapy or combine chemotherapy with other treatments.
Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by focusing high energy gamma rays on them. A cancer care team may use external radiation therapy, which expels these rays from a machine outside of the body.
With internal radiation, a doctor will implant radioactive materials near the site of the cancer in the form of a seed.