It is cancer that affects the large intestine (colon), which is the last part of the digestive system.
Most cases of colon cancer begin with small clusters of benign, non-cancerous cells.
Over time, some of these clusters may become colon cancer.
These clusters may be small and show few symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend periodic examinations for early detection to help prevent and remove them before they turn into cancerous cells. Symptoms of colon cancer
Colon cancer includes the following signs and symptoms:
- A change in your bowel habit, including diarrhea or constipation, or a change in the consistency of your stool, which may last for more than four weeks.
- Bleeding from the anus or blood in the stool.
- The presence of persistent abdominal pain, such as cramping or gas.
- a feeling that your bowels are still full, It was not fully emptied.
- Tiredness or exhaustion. Unexplained weight loss.
- Many people with colon cancer do not experience any symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
- And the appearance of symptoms, they will differ from one person to another based on the size of the cancer and its location in the large intestine.
When do you consult a doctor?
If you notice any of the symptoms of colon cancer such as blood in your stool or a persistent change in your bowel habit, Do not hesitate to go to the doctor.
Talk to your doctor about when to start screening for colon cancer.
Causes of Colon Cancer In most cases it is not clear what is the cause of colon cancer.
Doctors know that colon cancer occurs when there is an error in the DNA of healthy colon cells.
Healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly and regular manner in order to make the vital functions of the body normal, but when the DNA of the cell is damaged, it becomes a cancerous cell. The cells continue to divide even when there is no need for new cells, and these cells accumulate the tumor component.
Over time, cancer cells may grow to invade and destroy nearby healthy tissues. Cancer cells may also travel to other parts of the body.
Inherited gene mutations Inherited gene mutations that increase the risk of colon cancer may be passed down through families. But these inherited genes are associated with only a small percentage of the causes of colon cancer.
Inherited genetic mutations do not make cancer inevitable. However, it greatly increases the risk of cancer.
Types of inherited colon cancer syndromes Hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, also known as Lynch syndrome, increases the risk of colon cancer and other cancers.
And people with this syndrome tend to develop colon cancer before the age of fifty.
Familial adenomatous polyposis FAP is a rare disease that causes you to develop thousands of polyps in the lining of the colon and rectum.
People with it who have not been treated are at high risk of developing colon cancer before the age of forty.
These diseases can be detected by examining genes
Colon cancer There are several studies that have illustrated the relationship between a typical Western diet, and an increased risk of colon cancer from a typical Western diet high in fat and low in fiber.
When people move from a place of typical low-fat, high-fiber food to areas of very typical Western food, their risk of colon cancer increases dramatically.
Colon cancer risk factors
There are several factors that increase the risk of colon cancer:
Age, most people diagnosed with colon cancer are over 50 years old.
Having a history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
Inflammatory bowel conditions. Chronic colitis diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease increase the risk of colon cancer.
Inherited syndromes that increase the possibility of colon cancer such as, Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis. Colon cancer in a family member. Food that is low in fiber and high in fat, Which also contains high calories.
Lack of movement : If you are always inactive, you are also likely to develop colon cancer.
Regular exercise: Physical activity reduces the risk of colon cancer.
diabetes mellitus: People with diabetes who do not respond to insulin have a high risk of developing colon cancer.
obesity : Obese people have a higher risk of developing and dying from colon cancer than people of normal weight.
Smoking The risk of colon cancer in smokers is high.
Alcohol : Drinking alcohol in large quantities increases the risk of colon cancer.
radiotherapy for cancer directed directly to the abdominal region, It increases the risk of colon or rectal cancer.
Colon cancer prevention:
Screening and early detection of colon cancer is essential. People who have the possibility of colon cancer must undergo early screening and detection from the beginning of the age of fifty. But people who have a high risk of having a family member with colon cancer, They should start screening early.
You can reduce your risk of getting sick by changing your lifestyle.
These changes include:
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes, as they contain vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, which play an important role in protecting against colon cancer.
- Quit Smoking.
- Exercising most days of the week.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
And there are some medications to reduce the possibility of developing cancer or pre-cancerous polyps, Although there is not enough evidence to recommend these medications,
They are only intended for people with a high risk of developing the disease.
Early detection of colon cancer Doctors recommend several tests for healthy people who do not have any symptoms or signs of the disease. In order for them to discover early if they are infected or not, because the discovery of cancer in the first stage helps greatly to cure it. Early detection reduces the death rate from colon cancer.
There are many tests for early detection, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
If a colonoscope is used for the examination, They may be removed during the examination before they turn into cancerous cells.
Diagnosis of colon cancer If you have symptoms and signs that indicate that you have colon cancer, your doctor may recommend one or more tests, including:
Once you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer, Your doctor will order tests to find out the extent or stage of the cancer. In order to determine what is the appropriate treatment for your stage.
Examinations for the spread of cancer include CT scans of the abdomen, pelvis and chest.
In many cases, the spread of the disease can only be determined after surgery for the cancer.
Stages of cancer spread:
The first stage:
The cancer has spread through the surface epithelial layer of the colon or rectum (mucosa), But it did not go beyond the wall of the colon or rectum.
The second phase: The cancer may have grown through or beyond the colon wall. But it did not spread to the nearby lymph nodes.
third level : The cancer cells have spread to the nearby lymph nodes. But it did not hit any other part of the body yet. The fourth stage : The cancer has spread to distant parts of the body. Other organs, such as the lung or liver, for example.
Colon cancer treatment The method of treatment depends largely on the stage of spread of the cancer.
the basic options available, It is either by surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Surgical treatment If the cancer has grown through the colon, the surgeon may recommend the following:
partial colectomy, During this operation, the surgeon removes part of the colon that contains cancer and removes part of the healthy tissue surrounding it to ensure its complete removal. Then, after surgically removing the tumor, he reconnects the two parts of the colon to create an outlet for your body’s waste. This includes making an opening in the abdominal wall so that a part of the intestine passes through it to get rid of the stool in a well-fitting bag, and this opening is closed well.
lymph node removal, Nearby lymph nodes are often removed during tumor removal. It is examined if cancerous cells have reached it or not.
If the tumor is in an advanced stage or your general health is very poor, your doctor may recommend an operation to relieve an intestinal obstruction caused by the tumor to improve your symptoms.
This surgery is not intended to remove cancer. But to relieve your symptoms such as bleeding and pain.
In certain cases, when the cancer has spread to the liver only, but your general health is good, The doctor may recommend surgery to remove the cancerous tumor from the liver. Chemotherapy may be used before or after this type of surgery. Chemotherapy Chemotherapy is used to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often used after surgery if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. In this way, treatment helps reduce cancer recurrence and death from it.
Sometimes chemotherapy is also used before surgery, with the aim of shrinking the size of the cancer before the operation.
Chemotherapy can also be given to relieve symptoms resulting from the spread of cancer in the body.
Radiation therapy Radiotherapy uses powerful energy sources such as X-rays to kill cancer cells, to shrink large tumors in size before an operation so they can be removed more easily, or to relieve symptoms of cancer. Radiotherapy, whether alone or in addition to chemotherapy, One of the primary options for the initial treatment of rectal cancer, followed by surgery. Treatment with drugs These drugs aim to prevent the growth of cancer cells.
Doctors always weigh the potential benefits of taking these medications against the risk of side effects and cost. To decide whether to take these drugs or not.
Immunotherapy Some patients with advanced colon cancer may benefit from immunotherapy.
And if colon cancer will respond to immunotherapy or not, This is determined by special tests of the tumor tissue.
Coping with the disease and support The diagnosis of cancer is a strong challenge and affects a lot on feelings. And now people are learning in their own way how to cope and live with the disease.
And when you know your own way, Here’s what might help: You can read information about your cancer to feel comfortable in making a treatment decision.