Colon Cancer: All You Need to Know About Its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

 Colon Cancer: All You Need to Know About Its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
8 Jul 2022
7 mins
Table Of Content
Colon Cancer: All You Need to Know About Its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

    There are various types of cancers affecting people in India today, among which colon cancer is ranking at the thirteenth position. Colon cancer can occur at any age and affects both males and females. It is challenging to diagnose colon cancer in its early stage as there are no prominently visible symptoms, and hence regular diagnostic tests are advised to be done. If screened in its early stages, colon cancer can be controlled.


    Here’s an insight on everything you need to know about what colon cancer is, its causes, symptoms, and treatments.

    What Is Colon Cancer?


    Colon cancer is a kind of cancer that occurs in the colon (large intestine). The colon is a part of the digestive tract. The colon mainly functions by removing water, nutrients, electrolytes from food that is partially digested. Colon cancer is characterized by the formation of little noncancerous clusters of cells, also known as polyps. These polyps form on the inside of the colon and gradually develop cancer in the colon.

    Colon Cancer Symptoms


    People who have colon cancer may not experience any symptoms in the initial stages of the disease. But as cancer progresses, the colon cancer symptoms become more prominent. These symptoms include:


    • Feeling constipated
    • Loose bowels (diarrhea)
    • Narrowed stools
    • Bloody stools
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Anemia as a result of internal bleeding
    • Abdominal discomfort and pain
    • Indescribable loss of weight
    • Feeling fatigued
    • Nausea and vomiting


    In the metastasis stage, where the cancer started spreading to other body parts, the patient might also experience symptoms such as: 


    • Jaundice
    • Swelling of hands and feet
    • Shortness of breath
    • Blurred vision
    • Severe headache.


    Colon Cancer Causes


    Although the researchers are not sure what exactly colon cancer causes are, certain risk factors are said to be associated with it. These risk factors are:


    1. Age: Although it can occur at any age, people above 50 are more prone to colon cancer.
    2. Pre history of colon cancer: People with a history of colon cancer are more prone to its recurrence.
    3. A family history of colon cancer and hereditary conditions: A family record of colon cancer and genetically inherited disorders such as adenomatous polyposis and Lynch syndrome act as potential risk factors.
    4. Conditions of intestinal inflammation: Conditions of the intestine such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis may cause colon cancer.
    5. Diabetes: The risk of colon cancer is more in diabetic patients.
    6. Obesity: People with obesity are more likely to develop colon cancer.
    7. Lack of physical activity: People with insufficient physical activity are at possible risk of getting colon cancer.
    8. Dietary choices: People on a high fat and calorie diet with less fiber intake are at a greater risk of acquiring colon cancer. A good healthy diet is essential to prevent the risk.
    9. Smoking and alcohol consumption: People with regular smoking and heavy drinking habits are more vulnerable to developing colon cancer.

    Colon Cancer Treatment


    Treatment for colon cancer depends upon various factors like age, location of cancer, its spread, stage, etc. However, there are different colon cancer treatments available. They are:


    1. Surgery: 


    Upon detecting cancer in its early stages, surgery is one of the options for colon cancer treatment. These surgeries include:


    • Polypectomy: If only limited to polyp, cancer can be removed by removing the polyp.
    • Colectomy: In colectomy, a portion of the colon or the entire colon, along with some of its surrounding area, is removed. Surrounding lymph nodes might also be removed to cease the cancer spread.
    • Ostomy: It is a surgical procedure used to make an opening called stoma from an area within the body to the outside.

    2. Chemotherapy: 


    Chemotherapy is an essential part of colon cancer treatment. It is given either to kill the cancerous cells after the surgery or to shrink them before performing the surgery for easy removal.

    Certain Chemotherapy drugs to treat colon cancer include:


    • Fluorouracil
    • Capecitabine
    • Oxaliplatin
    • Irinotecan etc.


    3. Radiation: 


    Radiation therapy mainly focuses on destroying the cancer cells. In radiation therapy, high-energy rays like x-rays and gamma rays are used to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy might either be given alone or in combination with chemotherapy.

    4. Targeted Drug Therapy: 


    Targeted drug therapy involves using medications that target specific proteins and genes involved in the growth of cancer. Example: Bevacizumab.


    5. Immunotherapy: 


    Immunotherapy treatment includes provision of medicines that helps the body’s immune system to fight cancer.Example: pembrolizumab.

    6. Supportive Care: 


    Supportive care  is also  usually provided by healthcare staff to relieve the patient’s symptoms. Example: palliative care, nutritional therapy, counseling, exercise etc.

    Your Will To Fight Is Stronger Than Cancer


    Though it can happen to anyone, colon cancer can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle changes, regular physical activity, quitting drinking and smoking, etc. Supportive care by healthcare providers can also help relieve patient’s symptoms. Early screening helps in detecting colon cancer and can be treated by taking appropriate medical actions. Staying positive throughout the treatment is extremely important to heal.


    “Faith Is The Bird That Sings When The Dawn Is Still Dark.”


    Written by
    Arwa. AliakberContent Writer
    Tags :Colon cancer causescolon cancer symptomscolon cancer treatment