Medicaoncology Colon Cancer

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer is a form of cancer that starts in the large intestine and spreads throughout the body (colon). The colon is the last section of the digestive system. Colon cancer is more common in older people, although it can strike anyone at any age. It usually starts as polyps, which are tiny, noncancerous (benign) clusters of cells that grow on the inside of the colon. Some of these polyps can turn into colon cancer over time. Small polyps may create few, if any, symptoms. As a result, doctors advise routine screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by detecting and removing polyps before they turn cancerous.

Many treatments are available to help control colon cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy, and pharmacological treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.

Medica’s oncology department excels in providing world-class cancer treatment driven by their collective clinical excellence of over 30+ years. With a multidisciplinary approach to treating all types and forms of cancer, our oncologists and onco-surgeons are supported by the latest cancer treatment technologies along with a team of highly-skilled reconstructive surgeons who deliver extensive treatment to all of our patients, adults and children alike.

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    Types

    The most common type of colon cancer is adenocarcinoma, which affects the majority of people. There are also certain tumors that are more uncommon.

    Adenocarcinoma

    Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of colon cancer. This is a type of colon cancer that affects the cells that line the inside of the colon.

    Carcinoid tumors

    Carcinoid tumors begin in the intestines’ hormone-producing cells.

    Lymphoma

    Lymphoma is an immune system cancer. It usually begins in the lymph nodes, but it can also begin in the colon.

    Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

    Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are a form of soft tissue sarcoma that can occur anywhere in the digestive tract but are uncommon in the colon. Other forms of sarcoma that start in the blood vessels or connective tissue of the colon can cause these tumors

    The treatment of cancer today has completely revolutionized due to the addition of new medical advancement and treatment procedures. Today, we have reached new heights treating cancer patients to complete remission.

    Symptoms

    These are symptoms you should pay attention to since they could indicate colon cancer:

    • Abdominal pain
    • Unintended weight loss
    • Anemia
    • Sudden weakness/tiredness
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation

    In the early stages of colon cancer, many patients show no signs or symptoms. Symptoms will likely vary depending on the size and location of the cancer in your large intestine.

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    Causes

    Most colon cancers are caused by unknown factors, according to doctors.

    In general, colon cancer develops when the DNA of healthy colon cells undergoes mutations. The DNA of a cell carries instructions that tell it what to do. Healthy cells divide and expand in a regular pattern to keep your body running smoothly. When a cell’s DNA is broken and it becomes malignant, however, the cell continues to divide despite the fact that new cells aren’t required. As the cells multiply, a tumor develops.

    Cancer cells can grow large enough to penetrate and destroy normal tissue nearby over time. Furthermore, malignant cells have the ability to move to other places of the body and create deposits there (metastasis).

    Other Risk Factors

    • Age: As we become older, our chances of having colorectal polyps and cancer increase. Although colorectal cancer is more common in those over the age of 50, it can also affect younger folks.
    • Other Medical Conditions: Inherited diseases (Lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis) and medical conditions (type 2 diabetes, past history of cancer, history of inflammatory bowel illness) can raise your risk of colorectal cancer.
    Stages

    The phases at which colorectal cancer is discovered are used to describe it clinically. The extent of invasion through the gut wall, the involvement of lymph nodes (the drainage nodules), and the dissemination to other organs indicate the distinct stages of colorectal cancer (metastases).

    Stage 0: Only the mucosa, or innermost lining of the colon, is affected by stage 0 colon cancer.

    Stage I: The tumor has progressed beyond the inner lining but stays within the colon and has not migrated to the lymph nodes in stage I colon cancer. Lymph nodes are tiny organs that operate as filters and are part of the immune system.

    Stage II: Stage II colon cancer has spread through the colon’s thick outer muscle layer but not to the lymph nodes.

    Stage III: Stage III colon cancer has progressed to one or more lymph nodes outside of the colon.

    Stage IV: Colon cancer has progressed to other regions of the body, including the liver and lungs, at stage IV. It’s possible that the malignancy has spread to the lymph nodes.

    Diagnosis

    A variety of tests can be used to diagnose colorectal cancer. This illness can be detected if you exhibit symptoms or if your caregiver notices something abnormal during a screening test. Your doctor may do the following tests as part of the diagnosing process:

    • Blood Tests: Complete blood count, tumor markers and liver enzymes tests are some of the blood tests requested by your doctor to ascertain your illness.
    • Imaging Tests: X-rays, CT scan, MRI scan, PET scan, ultrasound, angiography are some of the imaging tests prescribed to diagnose the cancer.
    • Diagnostic Colonoscopy: This test is done after you show symptoms, not as a routine screening test).
    • Proctoscopy: Routine screening tests are performed prior to the onset of any symptoms. These tests are described in detail above.
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    Treatment

    Treatment for colon cancer is mostly determined by the cancer’s stage, although other factors can also play a role.

    Surgery is usually the major or first treatment for people with colon cancer that has not progressed to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy may be given following surgery as well (called adjuvant treatment).

    Targeted Therapy: Targeted treatment or therapy is designed specifically to attack only the cancer cells by attaching or blocking specific proteins that appear on the surface of the cancer cells, inhibiting their division and growth.

    Neoadjuvant Treatment: This treatment is known to help with shrinking the tumor into a smaller size. This makes the cancerous growth easier to remove through surgery.

    Immunotherapy: In this type of cancer treatment, the body’s own immune cells are activated to attack the tumor cells in one’s body. This treatment is known to have 1/10th of the side-effects of chemotherapy and is widely opted for.

    What is Chemotherapy?

    Chemotherapy is a term that refers to the use of medications to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy medications can be administered intravenously (via a vein) via an injection or a pump, or orally (through the mouth) as a pill. Each medicine targets a specific malignancy and is given at certain times and in specific doses. Chemotherapy may be prescribed for advanced colorectal tumors that have progressed to lymph nodes (drainage nodules) or other organs.

    Chemotherapy can be used in a variety of ways, including:

    • When colorectal cancer has metastasized (spread) to other organs, such as the liver or lungs, primary chemotherapy is performed. Chemotherapy can decrease tumor nodules, relieve symptoms, and prolong life in this case because surgery normally cannot remove cancer.
    • Before surgery for certain rectal tumors, neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given to reduce the tumor and allow the surgeon to remove it more easily. In this case, the patient is frequently given radiation in addition to chemotherapy.
    • Adjuvant chemotherapy is given after the colorectal cancer has been surgically removed when it is appropriate. Some cancer cells may persist in the lymph nodes or other organs after surgery because they were not fully removed. Adjuvant chemotherapy is used to eradicate any cancer cells that remain after surgery.

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