Colon Cancer: Symptoms, Stages & Treatment

Colon cancer is a condition in which the tissues of the colon acquire malignant cells. Although colon cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer, new instances and deaths linked to the condition have decreased recently as a result of advancements in screening and diagnostic methods.

Colon cancer can occur in persons of any age, but it is most common in those over the age of fifty. It is highly treatable when it is found early, but it may go undetected in its early stages because many people who have it do not experience symptoms.

The esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines make up the digestive system. The big intestine runs from the end of the small intestine to the anal hole, while the small intestine runs from the lower end of the stomach to it. The colon, the first part of the large intestine, is around six feet long. The rectum, the second component of the large intestine, is between six and ten inches long.

Colon Cancer Symptoms

Colon cancer is painless in the early stages, therefore there are no symptoms, since the neoplasm is too small ( polyp ) and does not give signs that indicate that we are suffering from this disease. In general, some of the polyps are benign and do not usually progress to colon cancer.

When the disease has advanced to a greater degree, that is when the symptoms begin to appear , but sometimes, when this occurs, it indicates that we are already facing a more advanced condition.

The symptoms of colon cancer are:

  • Sudden changes in intestinal rhythms.
  • Frequent diarrhea or a feeling of having a full abdomen.
  • If diarrhea does not occur, the opposite occurs, constipation, since this is caused by a change in intestinal rhythms.
  • Noticeable change in the consistency of stool.
  • Presence of traces of blood in the stool.
  • Weight loss without apparent cause, in the same way there is a loss of appetite.
  • Vomiting.

That is why early detection is important, because if it is detected at an early stage, the chances of cure are 90%, while if the cancer has spread to other nearby organs, the chances drop to 65%. 8% if the cancer is spread in distant organs. The test that can detect colon cancer early is the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), we will talk about it more extensively on another occasion.

Colon Cancer Stages

The evolution of colon cancer can be classified according to the stages it presents. colorectal cancer specialist. who usually diagnose and treat cases of colon cancer often use definitions to identify the phase or stage in which colon cancer is found. That is why you can find different stages that go from Stage I of colon cancer , which is the earliest stage, to Stage IV , which is the latest stage.

Colon cancer Stage I: This stage is characterized by being the beginning of the evolution of colon cancer. It tells us that the cancer is within the walls of the colon or rectum and has not yet spread to other places. Treatment options are usually surgeries that remove small cancerous lesions, often enough to eliminate colon cancer at this stage, since radiotherapy or chemotherapy is not normally required.

Stage II colon cancer: At this stage, colon cancer has already possibly spread to tissues near the cancerous lesion. Surgery is usually not enough in these cases and treatment alternatives are still being discussed, since some indicate that it is better to use chemotherapy before surgery that will remove the colon cancer, others affirm the opposite, however it remains for now. at the discretion of each professional. After the surgery occurs, the cancerous tissue will be examined to confirm if there is a chance that the cancer can spread to other areas or if it has a high probability of recurrence (meaning that the cancer reappears after a while). Treatment alternatives are usually combined, using chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

Stage III colon cancer: It is one of the stages in which the chances of survival are usually decreased, since the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and there is a probability of further spread, in addition to the fact that the chances of recurrence are greatly increased. Combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy are often used to kill cancer cells. Treatment is often aggressive and leaves a person with cancer at this stage very debilitated, but combination treatment is often the best option to increase the chances of survival .

Colon cancer Stage IV: It is the terminal stage of colon cancer and a distant metastasis has occurred (That is, it has spread to other parts of the body such as the Liver or Bones). Treatment alternatives focus on increasing the patient’s quality of life and increasing patient survival, since there is no cure for this stage.

Since we have known the stages of colon cancer, we will be able to know that each stage is more complicated and the chances of survival decrease with each stage, that is why the prevention of colon cancer is important, as well as routine checkups according to Tell your doctor to detect cancer in its early stages, do not wait for the appearance of symptoms , as it could be too late.

Colon Cancer Treatment

There are various colorectal cancer treatment options that can be considered today. If this disease is identified at an early stage, it is theoretically possible to make a full and complete recovery. There are a number of factors that would determine which of the treatments currently available should be offered to a patient. This includes the stage of the cancer, the anatomical location, and the patient’s general health and age.

The most common treatments given to patients involve chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. There is a fourth option of biological therapy, though this is usually only given alongside one of the other treatments. Surgery is often combined with either radiation therapy or chemotherapy to improve the chance of a complete removal of the tumorous cells.

Colon Surgery is still the most common procedure for individuals inflicted with this painful and sometimes terminal disease. Once the identification has been made of a cancerous tumor, surgery is carried out to remove the damaged tissue. The remaining sections of colon or rectum are then reattached to each other. It may be the case that surgery is only performed after a course of other therapy.