What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer begins in the large intestine, the colon, as the final part of the digestive tract. Colon cancer usually affects older adults; however, it could happen at any age. It usually begins as noncancerous clumps of cells called polyps inside the colon, which can become colon cancers. Doctors recommend regular screening once polyps are detected to prevent colon cancer by removing them before they turn into cancer.

What Causes Colon Cancer?

There is no certainty of what causes colon cancer. Generally, it happens when healthy cells suffer mutations in their DNA. When a cell’s DNA is damaged and becomes cancerous, they accumulate and form a tumor.

Over time, the cancer cells grow to destroy normal tissue nearby. Cancer cells can travel to other parts of the body to form deposits known as metastasis.

Risk factors

Factors that increase the risk of colon cancer:

  • Most people with colon cancer are older than 50; however, the rates of colon cancer in young people have been increasing.
  • African-American have a greater risk of colon cancer than do people of other races.
  • People with a medical history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
  • Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • The most common inherited syndromes increase colon cancer risk, such as (FAP) and Lynch syndrome, also known as
  • hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
  • Family history of colon cancer.
  • Low-fiber and high-fat diet. Eating diets high in red meat and processed meat.
  • A sedentary lifestyle. Inactive people are more likely to develop colon cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Smoking.
  • Alcohol.
  • Radiation therapy in the abdomen to treat previous cancers increases the risk of colon cancer.

Screening colon cancer

Screening for Colon Cancer around the age of 50 is best. But people with a family history of colon cancer should do screening sooner.

Lifestyle changes

  • A rich diet in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains that contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Exercise programs 3 or 4 times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

How is Colon Cancer treated?

Various techniques are available to help control it, including surgery, radiation therapy, and drug treatments, such as Chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. For instance, using small abdominal incisions often provides remarkable outcomes than open surgery in less time and less discomfort for patients.

Minimal invasive colorectal operations have more popularity in recent years due to the benefits they provide and, in some cases, excel the effectiveness of conventional surgical methods. Some conditions treated effectively with minimally invasive techniques:

  • Diverticulitis
  • Colon polyps
  • Colon cancer
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Crohn’s Disease

Treating stage 0 of colon cancer

Take out cancer through surgery is often the best approach. If cancer is too big for removal by local excision, removing part of the colon (partial colectomy) will be the best option.

Treating stage I of colon cancer
Stage I colon cancers deeper into the colo’s wall layers, but they have not spread outside the colon or into the lymph nodes.

You might need more than one surgery. For cancers outside a polyp, partial colectomy ─ surgery to colon section with cancer and nearby lymph nodes ─ is the standard treatment. You typically won’t need any more treatment.

Treating stage II colon cancer
Stage II colon cancers grow through the colon’s wall and maybe into nearby tissue, but they are not presented in the lymph nodes.

Removing the section of the colon containing cancer along with nearby lymph nodes may be the only treatment needed. Your doctor may recommend Chemotherapy after surgery if your cancer has a higher risk of recurring.

Treating stage III colon cancer
Stage III colon cancers spread to nearby lymph nodes but not to other parts of the body yet. The standard treatment for this stage is to remove the section of the colon with cancer along with nearby lymph nodes, and followed by Chemotherapy.

Treating stage IV of colon cancer
Stage IV colon cancers are from the colon through distant organs and tissues. Colon cancer typically spreads to the liver, but it can also extend to other organs like the lungs, brain, peritoneum, or even far lymph nodes. If cancer has spread too much, surgery, and Chemo is the leading treatment. Surgery is performed if the tumor is blocking the colon, following by Chemo.