Colon Cancer

  • Overview

  • Symptoms

  • Diagnosis

  • Treatment

Overview

Colon cancer  slowly develops over many years. It typically starts as a small tumour, called a polyp, on the surface of the organ. There is also a hereditary type of colon cancer.

Early Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Diarrhea, constipation or narrow stool for more than a few days
  • Persistent bowel movement even after visiting the toilet
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Loss of weight
  • Anemia

Though the symptoms may not necessarily indicate cancer, it is desirable to get screened and rule it out.

Diagnosis

Since colon cancer sets in slowly, people with pre-cancerous cells don’t have manifest symptoms. Hence, regular screening is suggested to detect the cancer while it is easier to treat. If doctors suspect the disease, you will be subjected to the following:

 

  • Assessment of medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Imaging procedures like x-ray, CT scan, MRI, etc.
  • Colonoscopy (biopsy)
  • Genetic testing (if you are vulnerable to colon cancer by heredity)

Treatment

Surgery: If the cancer is localized in the polyp, a simple colonoscopy is the only treatment required to remove it. In a laparoscopy, a thin, lighted tube mounted with a tiny video camera is inserted into an incision in the abdominal wall. Guided by the image generated on the screen, the operation is performed by special instruments.

Chemotherapy: Some colon cancer patients develop abnormal microscopic that escape detection and metastasize to other parts of the body. In such cases secondary chemotherapy is given after surgery.

Other Treatments: For metastatic colon cancer, other procedures may be employed like radiation and immunotherapy, etc. Surgery may also be performed on other areas where the cancer has spread.