What is Colon Cancer and how is it treated?
Colon cancer is the rapid growth of malignant (cancerous) cells in the colon. The colon is the last part the digestive system and is also known as the large intestine that reabsorbs fluids from solid waste and processes waste products. Colon cancer is sometimes referred to as colorectal cancer.
Signs and symptoms of Colon Cancer
In the early stages, colon cancer can be difficult to discern as there are no symptoms, but as it advances the symptoms manifest differently, depending on how far the cancerous cells have spread. The following are some of the symptoms of colon cancer:
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Unintended weight loss
- Weakness or fatigue
- Presence of blood in stool or a constant change in stool consistency
Some of these symptoms may be due to conditions such as hemorrhoids or irritable bowel syndrome, therefore it is important to get a clear diagnosis from your doctor.
Causes of Colon Cancer
It is still unclear what causes colon cancer but here are some of the known factors that may increase your risk of getting colon cancer:
- Obesity: compared to people with normal weight, obese people have an increased risk of colon cancer
- Smoking: people who smoke heavily have a high chance of getting colon cancer
- Alcohol: abuse or heavy use of alcohol escalate the chances of getting colon cancer
- Diabetes: people with this disease who have high insulin resistance, have an increased risk of colon cancer
- Older age people who are 50 years or older: should consider colon cancer screening as they have an above average risk of getting colon cancer
- Low-fibre and high-fat diet: colon cancer is often associated with a diet low in fibre and high in cholesterol and calories
- Exposure to radiation: this may be the result of radiation therapy, used to cure a previous gastrointestinal cancer
- Inflammatory intestinal diseases: chronic inflammatory disease of the colon may increase your risk of colon cancer
- Family history of colon cancer: you are more likely to develop colon cancer if your parent or sibling has had the disease
Diagnosis of Colon Cancer
There are numerous tests done to test for colon cancer, including:
- Colonoscopy: in this procedure, a colonoscope which is a long, flexible tubular instrument that is inserted through the rectum, is used to transmit images of the lining of the colon and to examine any abnormalities in the lining of the colon
- Biopsy: this is the removal of a small amount of tissue in the colon for examination
- Blood test: this is done to test the number of red blood cell in the blood, since most colon cancer cases cause anaemia (due to the bleeding in the large intestines or rectum)
- Ultrasound: this uses waves to create a picture of the internal organs
- Imaging tests: these are tests, such as MRI, CT or PET-CT scans, used to take pictures of the inside parts of your body
Before starting a treatment decision, it is important to consider the potential side effects of the treatment and other medical conditions you may have. Here are some of the colon cancer treatment options:
- Surgery: the removal of tumours through an operation. This option is convenient if the tumour is relatively small
- Chemotherapy: drugs are taken orally or through injection directly into a vein, a muscle or the spinal fluid to destroy cancer cells, by ending their ability to grow and divide
- Radiation: this form of treatment uses high energy rays to destroy cancer cells
- Targeted therapy: this treatment targets and blocks the cancer’s specific genes, proteins or tissue to stop the cancer from growing and spreading
- Immune therapy: this, the latest form of cancer treatment, boosts the immune system to destroy cancer cells
Prevention of Colon Cancer
Some of ways one can prevent this type of cancer are:
- Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables rich in fibre
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Doing exercise regularly
- Quitting tobacco smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Having regular check-ups, especially if your risk of getting colon cancer is high.
Treating colon cancer in its early stages is less costly and more likely to be successful.
How IMT can help
We, at International Medical Treatment (IMT), are experienced facilitators who can link you with the best colon cancer specialists in our partner hospitals in India, Dubai and Thailand.
We are here to help. By using IMT you will be assured of the following:
You will get a free, dedicated client coordinator who will help you coordinate with our partner hospitals to provide you, for free, with treatment plans and quotes to allow you to make an informed decision about which hospital and treatment is right for you.
All our partner hospitals are internationally accredited (JCI) and are the top hospitals in each country. We only work with the market leading hospitals.
If you arrange things through us you will never pay more than if you were to contact the hospitals directly.
No hidden fees, no obligations- receive a free, dedicated coordinator from IMT to help coordinate and book your international medical treatment.
Find Out More
To find out more about IMT and the services available visit our website at www.intmedicaltreatment.com or call us today on +254 0740 409 727. You can also visit our office at The Mirage, 1st Floor, Tower 2, Chiromo, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya.