The reason for colon cancer is the growth of tumors in the large intestine; however, just like other cancers colon cancer stages have different severity levels. The colon is your large intestine, which separates water and salt from solid waste in your body. There are more chances of colon cancer after the age of 50 years, however, it can also affect a young age due to which is the third most common type of cancer in the US alone.
Causes of colon cancer
Doctors are not completely sure as to what are the main reasons leading to colon cancer, however, they say the following factors can increase the risk of colon cancer.
Having high fat and low fiber diet:
Some studies have found that eating too much unhealthy western diet can increase the risk of colon cancer. These meals contain a high amount of processed red meat, low fiber, and many unhealthy fats, which lead to colon cancer.
If you are living an unhealthy lifestyle and do not exercise at all then you may invite colon cancer.
Due to the high-fat content in the body, obese people are at a high risk of developing and dying due to colon cancer rather than people with normal weight.
If any of your blood family member who has suffered or died due to colon cancer then there are high chances of you getting the same diseases.
If you have a history of polyps or colorectal cancer than you may acquire colon cancer in the future. In addition, if you have taken radiation treatments that affect your abdomen in the past to heal from a certain type of cancer, it may cause colon cancer.
Apart from these, other factors such as smoking, drinking, diabetes, old age, etc., can lead to colon cancer.
Signs that you may have colon cancer
Just like the rest of the cancers, initially, colon cancer has no symptoms. However, it may or may not show noticeable signs during the cancer development phase.
- Sudden weight loss
- Visible or hardly visible blood in stools
- Abdominal pain
- Fatigue and weakness
- Changes in the uniformity of stools
- Continuous urge to pass stools
- Narrow stools
Cramping and bloating
Know about different Colon Cancer stages
The symptoms may be different at different colon cancer stages. These stages can be divided into four stages that are:
During this stage, the cancer is hardly grown in the inner layer of the colon. This stage is also known as situ. Colon cancer can be easily treated at this stage.
In this stage, cancer grows and spreads in the next level of tissue but does not affect any other surrounding organs such as lymph nodes.
Cancer grows on the outer layer of the colon but does not spread beyond it.
In the third stage, cancer spreads in surrounding 1-3 lymph nodes but does not spread too far.
this is highly difficult to treat the stage of colon cancer among the rest of the colon cancer stages because cancer reaches various surrounding and distinct parts of the body.
Colon cancer treatment
Before treating a patient with colon cancer, the doctors take certain factors such as age, immunity, medical history into consideration. Depending upon that, the most common treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy are performed. No treatment guarantees that cancer will not return in the future. However, these therapies are performed in order to reduce uncomfortable symptoms, remove cancer and prevent cancer cells from spreading in the whole body.
Usually, a surgery known as colectomy is performed where the surgeon removes only that part of the colon, which is affected by cancer. If the cancer is spread in surrounding areas then it is also removed and only the healthy part of the colon is reattached. In case the whole colon damage, the surgeon creates a stoma, which is nothing but a surgical opening in the abdominal walls, which does the functions of the colon. The surgeon may also perform other surgeries like endoscopy, laparoscopic surgery and palliative surgery depending upon colon cancer stages and condition of the patient.
This type of treatment is done to target the cancer cells and kill them by disturbing the DNA. Chemotherapy is usually combined with other types of cancer treatments like radiation therapy. It is ideal to do chemotherapy when the cancer cells are spread all over the body. There are various sessions of chemotherapy and the body takes time to cope up with the side effects of chemotherapy.
This therapy is usually done in the advanced stage of colon cancer. The doctors may either perform an internal radioactive therapy by placing radioactive materials near the tumor. They may also perform external radioactive therapy wherein the tumor is contracted and cancer cells are killed with the help of gamma rays.