Colon Cancer Treatment
Colon Cancer | Overview
Colon cancer is characterized by the development of malignant tumors. There are a number of risk factors which may increase the risk of developing colon cancer. African-Americans are believed to be at greater risk as are those with diabetes and obesity. Smoking and drinking may increase your risk of colon cancer as well. Those who detect the cancer early in its development have a greater chance of survival. Early warning signs of colon cancer may include:
- Abnormal bowel movements
- Blood in your stool
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Sudden weight loss
Colon cancer is commonly detected via a colonoscopy, in which a tube is inserted to the colon and a visual identification is made. CT scans and may also be used as a diagnostic tool.
Colon Cancer | Stages of Development
Colon cancer is a progressive disease. While the cancer may start as a small growth, cancerous cells may quickly multiply and disperse through the body. Colon cancer is classified in stages between zero and four.
Stage 0: Tumors are small and isolated. Cancerous growths may often be removed via surgery.
Stage I: Tumors have multiplied and invaded multiple layers of the colon but have not yet spread to other parts of the body.
Stage II: The cancer has spread through the walls of the colon but has not yet spread to any major organs or lymph nodes. The malignant growths may appear highly abnormal. In some cases, the growth of malignant tumors may interfere with bowel function.
Stage III: The cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the area, but has yet to affect any other major organs.
Stage IV: Cancer has spread to other organs and tissues. Growths are large and plentiful. This is considered to be the most deadly stage of development.
Colon Cancer | Treatment
Treatment for colon cancer typically includes some combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgical removal. While these cancer treatment options are typically effective, they often carry a number of side effects including nausea, vomiting, weight loss, hair loss, and fatigue. A wide variety of medications also exist which are thought to slow or stop the spread of colon cancer. These cancer medications are often expensive and are not always guaranteed to succeed.
Surgical removal is the preferred treatment for stages zero through two. Stage two is where many doctors find themselves in disagreement. Some argue that chemo or radiation therapy is appropriate at this stage of cancer while many others are hesitant to subject anyone to the many negative side effects they entail. Stages three and four are often treated with radiation and/or chemo. At these stages of development, the chances of successful surgical removal become increasingly unrealistic as the cancer cells spread.
Colon Cancer | Prognosis
The five-year survival rate for those battling colon cancer is fairly high depending on when it is caught. Nevertheless, battling cancer of any sort takes a strong support network and positive outlook. Request more information about colon cancer specialists and treatment options today. Call or contact us online.