In this Health Article:
- What Causes Colon Cancer?
- What Are the Types of Colon Cancer?
- What Are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?
- What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Colon Cancer?
- What Are the Treatments Available for Colon Cancer?
- How Do You Cope Up with Colon Cancer?
- What Are the Ways to Prevent Colon Cancer?
- Medications for Colon Cancer Available at InternationalDrugMart.com
- Self Care
IntroductionColon cancer is a common type of cancer of the colon (large intestine). Colon is situated in the lower portion of the digestive system; waste material of the body gets stored here. Colon cancers starts off as a benign (non-cancerous) clump of cells (adenomatous polyps), with time these polyps turn out to become colon cancer. Most colon cancers start off as polyps. The cancerous tissue from the colon may affect other organs too. Diagnosing colon cancer at early stages can reduce major surgeries and also improve cure. Men and women are at equal risk to develop colon cancer.
What Causes Colon Cancer?The exact cause for colon cancer is not known. Colon cancer is not contagious, few of the commonly reported causes for colon cancer are
- A family history of polyps and colon cancer
- High fat intake - It is understood that people who take high-fat food are prone to colon cancer than people who consume low-fat food.
- Polyps in the large intestine - Polyps turn cancerous with time; it is advisable to remove the polyps (if any) when they are benign.
- Regular exposure to chemicals - Regular exposure to chemicals like chlorine can cause colon cancer. Exposure to asbestos can also result in colon cancer.
What Are the Types of Colon Cancer?Polyps in the large intestine turn out become cancerous at a later stage. These colon polyps can be classified as
Inflammatory polyps: These polyps spring after an incident of ulcerative colitis. Few of the inflammatory polyps can turn to become cancerous thus it is risky to have ulcerative colitis untreated.
Adenomas: Most of these polyps turn out to become cancerous. Most of the doctors recommend removal of these polyps at the screening stage itself.
Hyperplasic polyps: These polyps do not cause colon cancer in most of the cases.
What Are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?In the early stages of colon cancer most of the patients experience no symptoms. The most common symptoms reported by people suffering from colon cancer are
- Change in bowel habits
- Abdominal pain
- Continuous change in the consistency of the stool for over two weeks
- Gas or flatulence
- Continuous cramping
- Fatigue and weakness
- Blood in the stool
- Sudden weight loss
What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Colon Cancer?Colon cancer is mainly produced from the adenomatous type of polyps. Screening for polyps can help diagnose colon cancer. Other common tests to detect colon cancer are Colonoscopy: Helps in viewing the entire colon, helps your doctor to check for any abnormality.
Stool blood test: Your stool is checked, if blood is found in the stools your doctor will ask for other screening tests.
Stool DNA test: DNA markers in the stool is analyzed through this test. This test is believed to be accurate in detecting mutation of cells thus detecting cancerous growth if any.
Barium enema: The large intestine is studied with the help of x-ray. Barium is induced into your bowel with the help of enema. This helps in detecting polyps.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A flexible, slim, illuminated tube is inserted into the rectum and the sigmoid (just about the last two feet of your colon). Polyps or colon cancer is detected using this test.
Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor will stage the cancer.
What Are the Treatments Available for Colon Cancer?Treatment for colon cancer depends on the stage of cancer, the most common treatment for colon cancer is
Surgery: Colectomy is the surgery performed to treat colon cancer. A portion of the colon is removed depending on the severity of the condition. Surgery is the best way to treat colon cancer immaterial of its stage.
Radiation therapy: Powerful energy sources like x-ray are used to destroy cancer cells that remain after the surgery. Radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy for post-surgery treatment.
Chemotherapy: Drugs are used to destroy the cancer cells, it is mainly used post-surgery to destroy the cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be combined with radiation therapy too.
Drug therapy: Few specified drugs are used along with chemotherapy drugs to contain cancer.
How Do You Cope Up with Colon Cancer?You are not alone. About 112,000 American people are diagnosed with colon cancer every year. Follow these simple yet effective steps to cope with cancer
- Educate yourself - Talk to your health care provider, clarify all doubts with him. Speak to him about all possible problems you can face.
- Be courageous - You might feel tired and exhaustive; you might feel emotions running down your throat. Though difficult, learn to be courageous and face the situation.
- Interact with support groups - Talking to family and friends alone will not help; get the help of support groups. Here you will get to interact with people who face problems like you.
- Relax - Learn to relax, spend time for yourself. Indulge in activities that will make you cheerful.
- Check with your doctor on the pre-operative and post-operative issues.
- Prepare yourself for a surgery if required.
- Take your medications, if any as prescribed by the doctor.
- Follow your doctor’s guidelines.
What Are the Ways to Prevent Colon Cancer?Once you reach the age of 40, you have to screen yourself regularly for colon cancer. Following these simple yet effective tips can help preventing colon cancer.
- Food rich in fiber can help prevent colon cancer.
- Periodical screening tests can help prevent colon cancer.
- Your physician can give you few drugs to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with whole grains.
- Reduce the fat intake particularly saturated fat intake.
- Improve on the minerals and vitamins you consume.
- Quit smoking.
- Reduce alcohol intake.
- Remain physically active.
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Self CareManaging the disease is easy once you take good care of yourself. Follow these simple yet effective tips.
- Drink plenty of fluids, eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables to prevent constipation (chemotherapy induces constipation).
- If you have nausea or vomiting, check with your doctor and stop yourself from getting dehydrated (chemotherapy induces constipation). Do not use self medication for nausea.
- If you are experiencing hair loss due to the treatment, switch over to mild shampoos that will not irritate your scalp.
- Learn to cope with stress, talk to support groups. Develop new hobbies, and learn to live your life.
- If you experience sleepless nights, check with your doctor if he can help else stop the morning and afternoon naps. Exercise regularly and follow strict sleeping pattern.
- Eat a balanced diet; this will help you fight fatigue.
- Stop smoking and eat a healthy diet.
- Get some physical activity too.
- Reduce alcohol intake.