Rohilkhand Cancer Institute

COLON CANCER

Colon cancer can strike anyone at any age, but it often strikes older persons. Inside the colon, it typically starts as tiny cell clusters known as polyps. Although most polyps are not malignant, some can develop into colon cancer over time. Symptom-less polyps are common.

Colon cancer can strike anyone at any age, but it often strikes older persons. Inside the colon, it typically starts as tiny cell clusters known as polyps. Although most polyps are not malignant, some can develop into colon cancer over time. Symptom-less polyps are common.

Symptoms

Many persons with colon cancer first show no symptoms. The size of the malignancy and its location in the large intestine will likely determine when symptoms start to show.

Colon cancer symptoms can include:

  • A modification in bowel habits, such as constipation or more frequent diarrhoea.
  • Stool blood or rectal bleeding.
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, flatulence, or pain.
  • A sensation that a bowel movement doesn’t completely empty the intestines.
  • Fatigue or weakness.
  • Weight loss without exerting effort.

Causes

Most colon cancers are unknown causes, according to doctors.

When colonial cells experience DNA alterations, colon cancer results. The instructions that inform a cell what to do are stored in its DNA. The adjustments instruct the cells to proliferate quickly. The modifications enable the cells to survive when healthy cells naturally expire as a part of their life cycle.

Too many cells are produced as a result. The cells may gather into a lump known as a tumour. The cell have the ability to penetrate and demolish healthy biological tissue. Cells may eventually separate and spread to other bodily regions. Metastatic cancer refers to cancer that has spread.

Prevention

Screening for colon cancer

With an average risk of developing colon cancer, doctors advise starting colon cancer screening at around age 45. However, those at higher risk may want to consider beginning screening earlier. People with a family history of colon cancer are at a higher risk.

The many tests used for colon cancer screening are numerous. Discuss your alternatives with the medical staff.

Lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of colon cancer

Making changes in everyday life can reduce the risk of colon cancer. To lower the risk of colon cancer:

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains have vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may help prevent cancer. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get a range of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
  • Stop smoking. Talk to your health care team about ways to quit.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk with a health care professional before starting an exercise program.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, ask your health care team about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by eating fewer calories and moving more.

Treatment

Surgery to remove the cancer is typically part of the treatment for colon cancer. Your medical team may suggest additional therapies including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The location and stage of the cancer will determine your treatment options. When developing a treatment plan, your medical staff also takes into account your general health and your preferences.

Surgery for early-stage colon cancer

For very tiny colon cancers, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, such as:

  • Removing polyps during a colonoscopy, called a polypectomy. If the cancer is contained within a polyp, removing the polyp may remove all of the cancer.
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection. This procedure can remove larger polyps during colonoscopy. Special tools help remove the polyp and a small amount of the lining of the colon.
  • Minimally invasive surgery, called laparoscopic surgery. This type of surgery can remove polyps that can’t be removed during a colonoscopy. In this procedure, a surgeon performs the operation through several small cuts called incisions in the abdominal wall. Instruments with attached cameras go through the cuts and show the colon on a video monitor. The surgeon also may take samples from lymph nodes in the area around the cancer.

Surgery for advanced cancer

A surgeon may attempt to treat symptoms rather than treat the cancer when it is not possible to eradicate the disease during surgery. By removing intestinal obstructions, this procedure can reduce symptoms like bleeding or pain.

In cases where the patient is otherwise healthy, the cancer has only reached the liver or the lung. The cancer might be removed with surgery or other localised therapies. Chemo-therapy may be applied either prior to or following this kind of operation. The long-term possibility of becoming cancer-free is offered by this method.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses strong medicines to kill cancer cells. Chemo-therapy for colon cancer is usually given after surgery if the cancer is large or has spread to the lymph nodes. Chemo-therapy can kill cancer cells that might be left after surgery. This helps reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.

Chemo-therapy might also be used before surgery to shrink a large cancer so that it’s easier to remove.

Chemotherapy also can be used to relieve symptoms of colon cancer that can’t be removed with surgery or that has spread to other areas of the body. Sometimes it’s used with radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses powerful energy beams to kill cancer cells. The energy can come from X-rays, protons or other sources.

Radiation therapy can shrink a large cancer before an operation to make it easier to remove. When surgery isn’t an option, radiation therapy might be used to relieve symptoms, such as pain. Some people have radiation and chemotherapy at the same time.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy uses medicines that attack certain chemicals in cancer cells. By blocking these chemicals, targeted treatments can cause cancer cells to die.

Targeted therapy is usually combined with chemotherapy. Targeted therapy is typically used for people with advanced colon cancer.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a treatment with medicine that helps the body’s immune system kill cancer cells. The immune system fights off diseases by attacking germs and other cells that shouldn’t be in the body. Cancer cells survive by hiding from the immune system. Immunotherapy helps the immune system cells find and kill the cancer cells.

Immunotherapy is usually reserved for advanced colon cancer.

Palliative care

Providing pain relief and addressing other symptoms of a serious illness are the main goals of palliative care. Several medical experts work together to provide palliative care. Doctors, nurses, and other experts with specialised training may be on the team. Their objective is to raise the standard of living for those who are seriously ill and their families.

A further level of support throughout cancer treatment is provided by palliative care. People with cancer may feel better and live longer when palliative care is combined with all other necessary treatments.

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