Colon cancer affects the large intestine or the colon which is the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer which is located in the last several inches of your color plus colon cancer are referred to as colorectal cancers. Colon cancers start out as small and noncancerous grouping of cells named adenomatous polyps. As time goes on, these polyps develop into cancers. There will likely be little or no symptoms and you will not know you have colorectal cancer. Regular screening to find these polyps and remove them is the best way to determine if you are predisposed or currently have colorectal cancers.
Colorectal cancers may present with the following symptoms:
- Bowel habit changes. This includes excessive diarrhea or constipation or a change in your stools” ™ consistency.
- Rectal bleeding or blood in stools.
- Abdominal discomfit such as continual cramps or gas pains.
- Your bowel feels as if it is not completely empty.
- You have unexplained weight loss.
- Fatigue or weakness is present all the time.
The symptoms can vary according to the size and location of the cancer in your large intestine.
- Precancerous growths in the colon begin with clump of polyps on the lining of the colon. They can appear as mushroom-shaped in the lining or found in the flat walls of the colon. Removing polyps lesion before they turn cancerous is the main prevention of color cancer.
Inherited gene mutation can also cause colon cancer. These genes can be passed through families. There are only a very small parentage of colon cancers that have these gene mutations.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis or FAP is a disorder tht causes you to develop thousand of polyps in the lining of your rectum and colon. If you have this syndrome before the age of 40, colon cancer is very probable in the future.
- Older age presents a risk for colon and rectum cancer. Most people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50.
- African Americans seem to have a greater risk of colon cancers.
- Inflammatory intestinal conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn”s disease increase the risk of colon cancer.
- If you have inherited syndromes such as familiar adenmatous polyposis and hereditary nonpolyps or Lynch syndrome you are a greater risk for colorectal cancer than the rest of the population.
- If someone in your family has contracted cocoon polyps and or colon cancer you will find that your risk is elevated. This connection may not necessarily be from genetics, but can be an exposure to an environmental carcinogen or lifestyle.
- Low fiber and high fat diets are associated with rectal and colon cancers. If your diet is high in red meat studies have shown that you may be at risk.
- Sedentary lifestyles can cause risks for colon cancer. Exercise programs and being active can help decrease cancer risks.
- Diabetes and insulin resistance have an increased risk of rectum and colon cancers. Maintain your glucose balance to bring down you risk of colorectal cancers.
- Obesity definitely plays a part in colorectal cancers. The heavier you are the more fats will be a major factor in colon cancers. Remove the danger by losing weight.
- Smoking causes an increased risk of colon cancer and heavy use of alcohol does definitely augment your risk of colorectal cancers.
- If you have had previous cancers of the stomach or chest areas and undergone radiation therapy, you may be at increased risk for colon cancers as well as other types of cancers.
Your medical provider will recommend what treatments will be best suited to rid your body of colorectal cancers. The treatments depend on the stage of the cancer and there are three primary options for treating colorectal cancer. These include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
Early state colon cancer can be treated using surgery if your cancer is minimal and localized within a polyp. This polyp may be removed completely during a colonoscopy. If the pathologist determines that there is cancer in the polyp and the base is not involved, removing the polyp will remove the cancer risk.
- Invasive colon cancer that has grown into or though your colon will require a colostomy to remove the diseased portion of you colon You will also have nearby lymph nodes removed and tested for cancer. It is possible that portions of your colon can be reconnected and your lifestyle, after healing, is not restricted.
- If advanced cancer is your diagnosis and your heal is poor, surgery can remove the blockage in your colon. This is not a surgery to cure colon cancer, rather a treatment to relieve signs and symptoms of bleeding and pain.
- Chemotherapy is drug therapy to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy is used to destroy these cells after surgery and is designed to control further growth and relieve symptoms. You may have chemotherapy if your cancer has spread beyond the wall of the colon or spread to your lymph nodes. Those with rectal cancer also undergo radiation therapy.
- Radiation therapy uses powerful energy sources to kill cancer cells that still remain after surgery. Radiation therapy is used to shrink tumors and to relieve symptoms of colon and rectal cancer. Radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy to reduce the risk of cancers returning in the area of the rectum or colon where it first began.
- Targeted drug therapy is used to target specific defects that give cancer cells the opportunity to proliferate. Targeted drugs can be given in addition to chemotherapy and are used for those with advanced colon cancer.
There are no specific treatments for colorectal cancer through alternative treatments. These treatments may help you cope with a diagnosis and give comfort from pain and stress. You will definitely feel danger, difficulty concentrating and you may experience difficulty in sleep patterns and a loss of appetite. You may be able to use alternative treatments to redirect your thoughts and that can provide some relieve.
- Dance or movement therapies;
- Exercise including yoga or relaxation regimens;
- Music therapy
As with all treatments for cancer the best medicine is to have a appositive attitude. Keep you appointments. If you have caught colorectal cancer at the beginning stages it is almost 100% that you will have a positive outcome. If you find that your cancer has spread or advanced, the outcome can still be highly positive with the right treatments and medications.