The colon is the last organ of the digestive system. The cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer or colorectal cancer. Colon cancer begins as small clumps of cells known as polyps on the inner lining of colon. These polyps can become cancerous over time.
Signs of Colon Cancer
The following are the signs of colon cancer:
- A persistent change in the stool such as diarrhea or constipation
- Red stool
- Abdominal discomfort such as cramps
- Gas problem
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
If you ever notice any of the above mentioned symptoms, meet a doctor as soon as possible to undergo a cancer screening test.
Causes of Colon Cancer
So far the exact reasons for colon cancer are not identified. The following risk factors can cause colon cancer:
- Polyps: People who have polyps can have high risk of developing colon cancer. If the polyps are removed from the body, the colon cancer can be prevented.
- Age: Research has shown that most of the people with colon cancer are older than 50.
- Bowel disease: People who have a history of bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis can develop colon cancer.
- Family history: If one of your blood relations has a history of colon cancer, you may develop colon cancer.
- Diabetes: People who have diabetes also have a risk of developing colon cancer.
- Smoking and drinking alcohol: People who smoke and drink alcohol have a high risk of colon cancer.
Treatment Options for Colon Cancer
The treatment options for colon cancer are based on the extent and the size of the cancer. The common treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The treatment involves the removal of cancer and prevention of spreading.
Colectomy: Colectomy is a surgical procedure in which a part or the entire colon is removed. Laparoscopy is used to perform Colectomy surgery. During this procedure, the portion of the colon that has cancer will be removed. The doctor then reattaches the portion of colon that is healthy or creates a stoma to allow the excretion of waste. If only a small portion of colon is removed, it is called partial or segmental colectomy. If the entire colon is removed, it is called total colectomy.
The patients who have undergone laparoscopic colectomy can recover faster. This surgery requires an expertise, who has handled several colon cancer cases.