Colon cancer also know as bowel cancer, can be defined as a cancer that occurs in humans due to uncontrolled cell growth in the colon which is a part of the large intestine. Rectal cancer is a cancer that occurs due to uncontrolled cell growth in the rectum which is also a part of the large intestine.
These two cancer types have similar features and have a combined name which is the colorectalÂ cancer. The major difference between them are the treatment procedures used to tackle these cancerous growths. Colo-rectal cancer happens to both male and females, it is usually diagnosed in elder citizens and as in all cancer cases early detection is key.
Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer that Leads to its Detection
Colorectal cancer has tell-tale symptoms that can help a doctor or an individual suspect its growth in the body.
These symptoms are:
- Constipation: Serious constipation in an individual is one of the classic signs that shows that something wrong might be happening in the bowels.
- Blood in Stooling: Bloody stool is a symptom of various diseases and colorectal cancer happens to be one of them.
- The Location of Tumor Growth: Finding an unusual cell growth in the bowels is usually a sign that an individual may have colorectal cancer. A full monitoring is done by the doctor who must carry out further testing to give a definite diagnosis.
- Other Symptoms: Weight loss, fever, loss of appetite and the feeling of nausea that accompanies vomiting are tell-tale signs of colorectal cancer.
[box type=”note”]The above symptoms alone cannot provide a doctor or an individual with enough basis to diagnose colorectal cancer but they serve as early warning signs that should prompt a visit to the hospital. A definite diagnoses is then given after the following scans and tests for colon cancer are carried out. [/box]
- Â Stool Testing: A stool sample is taking to the lab for testing for occult blood.
- Barium Enema: This in-depth procedure involves taking an X-ray of a patient’s bowel region while Barium Sulphate is induced into the rectum with the use of an Enema tube. A normal colon shows the Barium Sulphate uniformly spread while one infected with cancerous growth shows other wise.
- Sigmoidoscopy: This is a procedure that gives the doctor a clear view of the large intestines from the rectum to the end of the colon. It is done by inserting a sigmoidoscope ( a flexible lit tube) into a patient’s rectum and slowly guiding it to the colon ends. The scope blows air as it moves so the doctor can get a clear view.
- Colonoscopy and Virtual Colony: Colonoscopy is the observation of the rectum and colon with the use of a fibre optic camera. During the examination some cells can be scraped off for lab use. Virtual colonoscopy involves the use of CT scans and X-rays to produce 3D images of the bowel region. Images are taken from the small intestine, colon, rectum and large intestine. These procedures provide doctors with adequate tools to diagnose colo-rectal cancer.
- Colon Biopsy: This procedure involves the removal of affected cells from the bowels and taking them to the lab for in-depth examination.
[box type=”note”]These procedures can be carried out individually or in combination to produce a conclusive diagnosis. When colorectal cancer has been diagnosed, the next step is the treatment procedure which should be done quickly to forestall further spreading of the cancerous growth.[/box]
Treatment Procedures for Colorectal Cancer
The colon cancer treatmentÂ procedure to be used by the doctor depends on how advanced the cancer is.
- Medication: The use of Aspirin hasÂ been found to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
- Surgery: If the cancer growth is localized, a surgical attempt to completely remove the cancerous cells can be performed. This procedure can also effectively achieve a cure if the cancer growth has not spread into other areas.
- Chemotherapy: Adjuvant Chemotherapy is often employed in addition to surgery if the cancer growth has spread to lymph nodes. Chemotherapy helps increase the life expectancy of the patient.
Early detection is very important for it gives a patient more than a fighting chance to beat it. This essentially to check for symptoms before they cause problems (Cancer.gov).
This is a post by David Veibl, occasional guest blogger on many topics, ranging from health to business and more. David now writes for Everist Genomics, creator of the most advanced cancer diagnostic equipment available for cancer patients.