Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the large intestine (colon) and rectum. It is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Early detection and treatment of colon cancer is important to increase the chances of survival and reduce the risk of recurrence. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of colon cancer and the treatment options available for those diagnosed with the disease.
Symptoms of Colon cancer
In its early stages, colon cancer often does not cause any symptoms. However, as the cancer grows, it can cause various symptoms, including:
Changes in bowel habits: This may include a change in the consistency or frequency of stools, diarrhea or constipation, and straining during bowel movements.
Abdominal pain: Pain or cramping in the abdomen may be a symptom of colon cancer, especially if it is accompanied by a change in bowel habits.
Rectal bleeding: Bright red blood in the stool or on the toilet paper may be a sign of colon cancer.
Anemia: This occurs when there is a lack of red blood cells in the body, which can be caused by blood loss from colon cancer.
Weakness and fatigue: Fatigue and weakness can occur as a result of anemia or as a side effect of treatment.
Unexplained weight loss: Sudden weight loss without any change in diet or exercise routine may be a sign of colon cancer.
It is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, such as hemorrhoids or inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore, if you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Treatment for colon cancer
The treatment for colon cancer depends on various factors, including the stage and location of the cancer, the patient’s age and overall health, and the patient’s personal preferences. The main treatment options for colon cancer include:
Surgery: This is the most common treatment for colon cancer, and involves removing the cancerous portion of the colon along with some surrounding healthy tissue. The two main types of surgery for colon cancer are colectomy and proctectomy. A colectomy removes a portion of the colon, while a proctectomy removes the entire rectum.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given before or after surgery to shrink the tumor or to prevent recurrence.
Radiation therapy: This is a type of treatment that uses high-energy beams of radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be used in combination with chemotherapy to increase the chances of success.
Targeted therapy: This is a type of treatment that uses drugs to target specific molecules that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. Targeted therapy can be used in combination with chemotherapy or surgery to improve the chances of success.
Immunotherapy: This is a type of treatment that helps the body’s immune system fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be used in combination with other treatments to improve the chances of success.
Colon cancer is a serious condition that affects a large number of people every year. Early detection and treatment is essential to increase the chances of survival and reduce the risk of recurrence. If you experience any of the symptoms of colon cancer, it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. The treatment options for colon cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.