Colon Cancer Overview
The colon cancer includes the cancerous growths in the colon, appendix and rectum. Screening for colon cancer begins at the age for 40 in healthy adults. Around 70 to 80 percent of colon cancer cases occur in adults without specific risk factors. It may affect any racial or ethnic group however as per some studies, Americans of northern Europe heritage have a higher than average risk of colon cancer.
Regular Test and Scans
Regular imaging test and scans will show the pictures of the inside of the body and if the cancer has spread which will allow them to learn which treatments could work best. A biopsy is a sure way for the doctor to know whether an area of the body has cancer. In addition to the physical exam, the following tests may be used to diagnose a colon cancer:
- Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan
testing of the tumor
- Blood tests
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
- Positron emission tomography (PET) or PET-CT scan
- Chest X-ray
Know How far the cancer Has spread
Staging for colon cancer is a method to know how far the cancer has spread.
- Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ) is a precancerous condition usually found in a polyp
- Stage I in which the cancer has spread through the innermost lining of the colon to the second and third layers of the colon wall but not spread outside the colon
- Stage II in which the cancer has spread outside the colon to nearby tissues
- Stage III in which the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes but not to other parts of the body
- Stage IV in which the cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as lungs or liver
Get full information about Treatments
There are different types of treatment available for patients with colon cancer and the three primary treatments are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
It is the most common treatment for all stages of colon cancer which removes the cancer in an operation. In an ideal situation where the cancer is found at an early stage, a doctor will remove the tumor using a colonoscope.
- Radiation therapy
It uses powerful energy sources such as X-rays which kills the cancer cells that might remain post surgery, shrink the large tumors before an operation so that they can be easily removed or relieve the symptoms of colon cancer.
It is a cancer treatment using drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells by killing them or stopping them from dividing. This could be systemic when taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle in which the drugs enter the bloodstream and reach the cancer cells throughout the body or regional in which the chemotherapy is directly placed into the cerebrospinal fluid which mainly affect the cancer cells.
Requesting a second opinion will provide the following information:
- Confirming diagnosis
- Additional details about the stage of cancer, location, whether it has spread and whether it is affecting other parts of the body
- Perspective from experts in medical oncology, surgical oncology and radiation oncology
- Other treatment options in which the doctor disagrees with the original diagnosis or the proposed treatment plan
Preparation for Surgery
You should enter the colon cancer surgery with a positive attitude and a sense of well bring as this will help to prepare your body to respond more effectively. Preparation for surgery to expect good results include:
- Do not eat or drink anything post midnight before surgery
- Do not smoke post midnight before surgery
- Continue to take prescription medication but only with a sip of water
- Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen a week before surgery
- Do not bring large sums of jewellery, money or credit cards
- Do not wear any makeup, lotions or powders, artificial nails or nail polish
- Bring a list of all your medications and their dosages
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