Colon cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the colon. Colorectal cancer is a term used to describe cancers that affect either of these organs. While not always the case, the majority of colorectal cancer typically start out as adenomatous (precancerous) polyps and progress over time.
How does colon cancer develop?
In order to maintain the body’s health and appropriate operation, all of the body’s cells typically develop, divide, and eventually pass away. This procedure occasionally spirals out of control. Even when they should be dying, cells continue to grow and divide. Colorectal cancer may eventually manifest when the cells lining the colon and rectum proliferate unchecked.
However, the majority of colorectal malignancies start as little precancerous polyps (adenomatous or serrated). The majority of the time, these polyps develop slowly and do not show symptoms until they are huge. This gives the chance for early diagnosis and excision of pre-cancerous polyps before they turn malignant.
What symptoms and indicators are present in colorectal cancer?
Sadly, certain colorectal tumours may exist without showing any symptoms. To identify issues early, it is crucial to conduct routine colorectal screenings (examinations). The most effective screening test is a colonoscopy. Other screening techniques include flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, CT colonography, faecal occult blood tests, faecal DNA tests, and faecal occult blood tests. Your risk factors, particularly a family history of colon and rectal cancers, will determine when such screening tests start and at what age.
Tell your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms that could point to colorectal cancer. No matter your age, even if you do not have a family history of the disease or polyps. Typical colorectal cancer symptoms includes:
Changes in bowel habits: Although they are frequently signs of other, less serious conditions, constipation, diarrhoea, narrowing of stools, incomplete evacuation, and bowel incontinence can all be signs of colorectal cancer.
Blood on or in the stool: Blood on or in the stool is one of the most obvious symptoms of colorectal cancer. However, it does not necessarily mean that cancer is present due to conditions, such as haemorrhoids, anal tears, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
Unaccounted-for anaemia: It is a deficiency of red blood cells, which deliver oxygen throughout the body. Breathlessness is one of the symptoms of anaemia. Additionally, you can feel so worn out and lethargic that even sleeping won’t make you feel better.
- Bloating or discomfort in the abdomen or pelvis
- Loss of weight without cause
How is colon cancer identified?
Several tests can be used to identify colorectal cancer. You can be diagnosed with this ailment after you start to exhibit symptoms or if your healthcare provider discovers something abnormal during a screening test.
Your doctor may order the following tests as part of the diagnosing process:
- A blood test
- Imaging tests (X-rays, CT scan, MRI scan, PET scan, ultrasound, angiography)
- Screening colonoscopy (done after you show symptoms, not as a routine screening test)
What is the treatment for colorectal cancer?
Depending on the cancer’s stage, colorectal cancer is treated. Cancer severity is determined by staging. Radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery are all possible treatment modalities.