Colorectal cancer: Symptoms treatment and causes
Colorectal cancer: Symptoms treatment and causes – Colon cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the large intestine (colon). The colon is the last part of the digestive system.
Colon cancer usually affects older adults, although it can occur at any age. It usually begins as small, non-cancerous (benign) groups of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time, some of these polyps can become colon cancer.
Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to prevent polyp from being detected and removed before identifying cancer.
If colon cancer develops, several treatments are available to help control it, including surgery, radiation therapy, and drug treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.
Colon cancer is sometimes called colorectal cancer, a term that combines colon cancer and rectal cancer, which begin in the rectum.
Symptoms – Colorectal cancer: Symptoms treatment and causes
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:
- Constant changes in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool.
- Bleeding or blood in your stool
- Persistent stomach problems, such as cramps, gas, or pain
- Feeling that your bowel is not completely empty
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms appear, they will likely vary depending on the size and location of the cancer in the large intestine.
Causes – Colorectal cancer: Symptoms treatment and causes
Doctors are not sure what most stomach cancers are.
In general, colon cancer begins when healthy cells in the colon develop mutations in their DNA. A cell’s DNA consists of a set of instructions that tells a cell what to do.
Healthy cells grow and divide in a gradual way for your body to function normally. But when a cell’s DNA is damaged and becomes cancerous, the cells continue to divide – even when new cells are no longer needed. As cells accumulate, they form a tumor.
Over time, cancer cells can invade and destroy nearby normal tissue. And cancer cells can travel to other parts of the body to accumulate there (metastasis).
Treatment – Colorectal cancer: Symptoms treatment and causes
Which treatments are most likely to help you depends on your specific condition, including the location of your cancer, its condition and other health concerns. Treatment of colon cancer usually involves surgery to remove the cancer. Other treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be recommended.
Surgery for early stage colon cancer
If your colon cancer is very small, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive approach to surgery, such as:
- Removal of polyps during a colonoscopy (polypectomy). If your cancer is small, localized, completely contained within a polyp and at a very early stage, your doctor may be able to remove it completely during a colonoscopy.
- Endoscopic mucosal affection. Large polyps can be removed during the colon, using special tools to remove the polyp and a small amount of the inner lining of the colon in a process called an endoscopic mucosal affection.
- Minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopic surgery). Polyps that cannot be removed during a colonoscopy can be removed using laparoscopic surgery. In this procedure, your surgeon performs operations through several small incisions in your abdominal wall, including devices with attached cameras that display your colon on a video monitor. The surgeon may also take samples from lymph nodes in the area where the cancer is located.