Colon cancer is a kind of cancer that starts in the large intestine, i.e. colon. The colon is the last section of the intestinal tract. Colon cancer is most common in older people, but it can strike anyone at any age. It normally starts as polyps, which are thin, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells that grow on the inside of the colon. Any of these polyps develops into colon cancer over time. Now the question is how to detect colon cancer symptoms?
Colon cancer can be diagnosed using a number of different techniques. Your doctor can use staging to determine how far the cancer has progressed. Your doctor needs to know what type of cancer you have so that he can devise the right recovery strategy for you and give you an estimation of your long-term prognosis.
How to Detect Colon Cancer Symptoms?
A faecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a straightforward at-home test that checks for latent blood traces in a bowel movement. It may aid in the early detection of bowel cancer in individuals who have no symptoms.
From the age of 50, you can have a FOBT every two years. If blood discovered during a FOBT, further examination, normally a colonoscopy, needed to determine the cause.
Colonoscopy is a process in which a doctor looks into the intestine using a long, narrow, translucent tube with a video camera lens on the top. During the cancer treatment, if a polyp or bowel cancer is discovered, it will be removed. Colonoscopy normally done as a day treatment under sedation. It used as a screening tool for those who are at a higher risk of bowel cancer.
Sigmoidoscopy is identical to colonoscopy, but it just looks at the lower portion of the intestine which is where cancer is most likely to grow. A complete bowel inspection by colonoscopy is normally needed if a pre-cancerous polyp is discovered during the operation.
Other colon cancer screening tests are available. Talk to your doctor about these solutions.
The youngest stage of colorectal cancer is stage 0, and the most advanced stage is stage 4:
- Stage 0: At this point, irregular cells also known as carcinoma in situ only in the internal lining of the colon or rectum.
- Stage 1: The cancer has broken through the mucosa lining of the colon or rectum and may have spread to the muscle layer. It hasn’t spread to other areas of the body or surrounding lymph nodes.
- The Stage 2: Cancer expands into colon or rectal walls or surrounding tissues across the walls, but the lymph nodes remain unaffected.
- Stage 3: The cancer spreads to the lymph nodes but not to any other organs.
- Stage 4: Cancer spreads to other remote organs, including the liver or lungs.
The Symptoms Of Colon Cancer
Symptoms in stages 1 and 2 (early stage symptoms):
No symptoms may occur from colorectal cancer, particularly in early stages. If you have signs in the early stages, they can include:
- Variations in stool colour
- Changes in stool structure such as narrowed stool
- Blood in the stool
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Excessive gas
- Cramps in the abdomen
- Stomach ache
Have an appointment with the doctor to discuss a colorectal cancer screening if you have any of these signs and symptoms.
Symptoms in stages 3 and 4 (late stage symptoms):
The signs of colorectal cancer become more apparent as the disease progresses (stages 3 and 4). You can also feel the following symptoms in addition to the ones mentioned above:
- Excessive exhaustion
- Unexplained ailment
- Unintentional weight loss
- Shifts in your stool that last more than a month
- The sensation that your bowels aren’t emptying completely
If colorectal cancer spreads to other areas of the body, you can develop the following symptoms:
- Jaundice or yellow eyes, as well as skin
- Swollen hands and feet
- Difficulty in breathing
- Constant headache
- Bone breaks
- Distorted vision
Colon Cancer Risk Factors
Race, heredity, and behaviours are all factors that may raise the risk of developing colorectal cancer. This means you can exert leverage of certain aspects when attempting to manipulate others.
The below are both modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for colorectal cancer:
- Insufficient physical exercise
- Obesity or overweight
- Diabetes type 2
- Smoking cigarettes
- Drinking excessive alcohol (three or more drinks daily)
- Certain hereditary syndromes, such as Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis.
- Personal or family history of cancer or high-risk polyps in the colon or rectum
- Age (risk increases as age increase)
What is the Cause of Colon Cancer?
Colorectal cancer causes are still being studied.
Cancer may be affected by hereditary or acquired genetic defects. These mutations do not ensure that you can get colorectal cancer, but they do increase your likelihood.
Mutations in the lining of the colon may cause irregular cells to aggregate and form polyps. These are minute, harmless tumours.
Surgical removal of these growths may be used as a prevention measure. Polyps that go untreated develop into cancer.
Colorectal cancer is treatable if caught early. Most patients survive for at least another 5 years after being diagnosed if they are detected early. There is a very little chance of recurrence if the cancer does not return within that period, particularly if you have early stage disease.
Treatment for colon or rectal cancer determined by the type of cancer, the size, and whether it expanded. Surgery, immunotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy and chemotherapy are also options for treatment. Many patients get several forms of medication. It’s important to communicate freely with your doctor and raise questions if you have any concerns.
Some drugs have been shown to lower the risk of precancerous polyps and colon cancer. Daily use of aspirin or aspirin-like medications, for example, has been linked to a lower risk of polyps and colon cancer. However, it unclear what dosage and duration of treatment required to minimise the risk of colon cancer. Aspirin use on a normal basis carries certain complications, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.
These services are usually only available to those who are at a high risk of colon cancer. There is no evidence to prescribe these drugs to people with an early stage of colon cancer.
If you have a higher risk of colon cancer, talk to a doctor about your risk factors to see if preventive medicines are right for you.