Colon Cancer

What is Colon Cancer?

Most cancers are named after the place where they originate. In a comparable manner, colon cancer starts in our large intestine. From there, they spread across the body. Our colon is the biggest section of our digestive system. Older people are more prone to colon cancer. Yet, colon cancer has been found in people of all ages. Colon cancer develops as polyps. These are non-cancerous and tiny cell clusters growing inside the colon. These polyps transform into tumors over time. Sometimes these small polyps create faint symptoms. As such, doctors recommend routine examinations and screening tests for colon cancer. This helps identify symptoms early on and prevent cancer from spreading. It can also help remove the polyps so that they do not turn cancerous.

Treatment facilities are available for controlling colon cancer. These include radiation therapy and surgery. Pharmaceutical treatments include immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy.

The Oncology department at Media excels in world-class treatment for cancer. We are driven by our collective and comprehensive clinical expertise. Our experience span over a period of three decades. We have a multidisciplinary approach towards treating all forms and types of cancer. We have a team of experienced Onco-Surgeons and Oncologists who work with the latest technologies in cancer treatment. We also have a highly skilled team of reconstructive surgeons. Together we deliver extensive treatment facilities to our patients.

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    Types

    Adenocarcinoma is the most prevalent colon cancer type. It is found in the majority of colon cancer patients. Certain uncommon tumors are also found in colon cancer patients.

    Adenocarcinoma: This colon cancer is a prevalent form. It affects the internal cell lining surrounding the colon.

    Carcinoid tumors: These tumors develop within the hormone-developing cells of the intestines.

    Lymphoma: This is a cancer of the immune system. It starts in our lymph nodes. It can also start inside the colon.

    Gastrointestinal Tumors: These tumors comprise develop from soft tissues occurring within our digestive tracts. They are not common in our colon. Sarcoma can be of different types. These start within our connective tissues or blood vessels, causing colon cancer.

    The invention of advanced treatment procedures and technology has revolutionized cancer treatment. Thanks to these technologies, we are now able to treat cancer patients towards complete remission.

    Symptoms

    These symptoms should not be ignored as they can signify colon cancer. These are:

    • Unintended or unexplained weight loss
    • Abdominal pain
    • Sudden and frequent tiredness and weakness
    • Anemia
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
    • Rectal bleeding

    Symptoms or signs are often invisible during early colon cancer stages. Symptoms vary based on the location and size of the colon cancer inside the large intestine.

    Causes

    According to experts, the major cause of colon cancer is still unknown. Our DNA works by carrying a set of instructions for the cell, ensuring its proper functions. Sometimes this DNA starts mutating. Our healthy cells expand and divide in a specific pattern. This is to keep the body functioning smoothly. However, mutations result in the breaking of DNA and cells becoming malignant. While the malignant cells divided profusely, they do not die. These cells divide and become a tumor. This happens while the healthy cells keep dying.

    Cancer cells become big enough to infiltrate and destroy the adjacent normal tissues. These malignant cells can also move to different locations. They make deposits in these locations, resulting in cancer spread. 

    Additional Risk Factors

    Age: Age can be a determining factor in the risk of colon cancer. As we age, risks associated with colorectal polyps or tumor increases. People above 50 years of age are more prone to colorectal cancer. Yet, it can also target younger people.

    Underlying Medical Ailments: A person can have underlying medical ailments that can increase the risk of this cancer. These can be adenomatous polyposis in the family, lynch syndrome. It can also be medical conditions such as past cancer history, type-2 diabetes, or a history of bowel inflammation. 

    Stages

    Colon cancer can be subcategorized into various stages. These stages are based on their clinical description, the extent of spread, size, and related factors. Stages are also categorized based on dissemination to different organs, lymph node involvement, and gut wall invasion.

    Stage 0: This is the pre-cancerous stage. Here only the innermost colon lining or the mucosa is affected.

    Stage I: In this stage, cancer has traveled beyond the colon’s inner lining. Yet, it stays inside the colon in this stage. The cancer is yet to migrate to nearby lymph nodes. These lymph nodes form a critical aspect of our immune system.

    Stage II: In this stage, cancer has propagated to the thick outer layer of colon muscles. However, it has not yet reached any lymph nodes.

    Stage III: In this stage, cancer reaches the lymph nodes situated outside the colon

    Stage IV: This is the last stage or the advanced stage of colon cancer. It has reached several locations in the body. It can be found in the lungs and liver in this stage. Here the malignancy has distributed across the entire lymph nodes.

    Diagnosis

    Colorectal cancer can be diagnosed with several tests. Symptoms can be identified by the patient or by the caregiver. Aberrant cells or tumor is further confirmed with these screening tests. Doctors may recommend these tests for the diagnosis

    Blood Tests: These include CBCs or complete blood counts, liver enzyme screening, and tumor markers. These blood tests can ascertain the illness.

    Imaging Tests: These can be CT scans, X-rays, PET scans, angiography, or ultrasound. These screening tests can diagnose the location and size of cancer.

    Diagnostic Colonoscopy: This screening test is done after symptoms become prevalent. It is not recommended as a routine screening examination.

    Proctoscopy: It is a screening test. It is conducted before symptoms are prevalent.

    Treatment

    Colon cancer treatment is dependent on the stage of cancer. Other factors can play a critical role.

    Surgery: It is usually the most preferred treatment for colon cancer patients. It is also the first treatment option if the cancer is confined to a specific body part.

    Chemotherapy: It is given after the surgery process is conducted. It is also known as adjuvant treatment.

    Targeted Therapy: This therapy technique is designed to attack specific tumor cells. Specific drugs are given to block or attach specific proteins. These proteins are found on the cancer cell surface. They inhibit the growth and division of the cell.

    Neoadjuvant Treatment: The treatment helps by shrinking the cancer cells. These smaller cells are then removed via surgery.

    Immunotherapy: This cancer treatment uses the immune system of the body. It is activated using specific drugs. This activated immune system then attacks the cells causing colon cancer. This treatment is often preferred over chemotherapy. This is is because the side effects are 1/10th of chemotherapy.

    More about Chemotherapy?

    Chemotherapy is using certain medications to destroy cancer cells. These medications are administered intravenously, through a pump or injection. They are also given orally via pills. These medicines target specific cancer cells. They are given at specific times as well as doses. Chemotherapy is often preferred for advanced tumors. These tumors have reached the drainage nodules as well as organs. Chemotherapy is applied in various methods:

    • Doctors prefer primary chemotherapy when cancer has reached other organs. These include lungs or liver. Primary chemotherapy decreases the nodules, minimizes symptoms as well as prolongs life. It is preferred if surgery is not possible
    • Nonadjuvant therapy is given for specific rectal tumors. It reduces the tumor so that it can be removed without complications. Patients often receive radiation apart from chemotherapy.
    • Patients receive adjuvant therapy after the removal of cancer. It is given to decrease the chances of recurrence. Some cells may survive inside the nodes even after surgery. This chemotherapy further eradicates the remaining cancer cells.

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