Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is a malignant tumor in the large intestine characterized by persistent changes in bowel patterns. The disease often begins as a benign tumor called a polyp.

Until now, the cause of colon cancer is not clearly known. However, there are several things that are thought to increase a person's risk of developing  colon cancer , including rarely eating  fiber , rarely exercising, and having a smoking habit.

Colon cancer often causes no symptoms at first. However, if you frequently experience symptoms of indigestion, such as diarrhea or  constipation , and have a family member with colon cancer, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

The earlier detected, the possibility of colon cancer to be cured will also be greater.

Causes of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is caused by changes or mutations in genes in the colon tissue. However, the cause of this gene mutation is not known with certainty.

Although the cause is unknown, there are several lifestyles that are thought to increase a person's risk of developing colon cancer, including:

  • Low fiber diet
  • Eating too much red meat and fat
  • Smoking habit
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Rarely exercise

In addition, there are several conditions or diseases that also increase a person's risk of developing colon cancer, namely:

  • Having a parent or sibling with colon cancer
  • Suffering  from intestinal polyps
  • Suffering from being overweight or  obese
  • Suffering from diabetes
  • Suffering from  inflammatory bowel disease
  • Have you ever had  radiotherapy  to the abdomen?
  • Have a genetic disorder called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch . syndrome
  • Over 50 years old

Colon Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of colon cancer in its early stages are sometimes not felt or even do not appear at all. However, there are some symptoms that can appear in early-stage colon cancer, namely:

  • Diarrhea  or constipation
  • Bloated
  • Cramps or stomach ache
  • Changes in stool shape and color
  • bloody CHAPTER

If it has entered an advanced stage, colon cancer sufferers may experience symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Often feel the CHAPTER is not complete
  • Changes in stool form that last more than a month
  • Drastic weight loss

If colon cancer has spread to other parts of the body, symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice  (jaundice)
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling of the arms and legs
  • Headache
  • Fracture
  • Hard to breathe

When to go to the doctor

As has been said before, colon cancer sufferers may initially not feel any symptoms at all. Therefore, consult a doctor if you feel complaints that could be symptoms of colon cancer, such as:

  • Recurrent diarrhea  or constipation
  • Changes in stool shape and color
  • CHAPTER like not finished
  • bloody CHAPTER

Checking with a doctor is also highly recommended if you have a family who suffers from colon cancer.

Colon Cancer Diagnosis

To find out if the patient has colon cancer, the doctor will ask about the symptoms experienced. The doctor will also ask if the patient has any diseases that can increase the risk of developing colon cancer, as well as trace the patient's family medical history.

After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination and supporting examinations, such as:

endoscope

Endoscopy  is performed by  a gastroenterologist  to see the condition of the large intestine by inserting a flexible tube with a camera at the end through the anus. Examination with this tool is called  a colonoscopy .

In addition to a flexible tube, endoscopy can be performed with a camera capsule that the patient must swallow.

Bowel biopsy

A biopsy is done by taking a sample of intestinal tissue to be examined under a microscope. The goal is to see the presence or absence of malignant (cancer) cells.

A biopsy  can be done during a colonoscopy or during surgical removal of part of the colon .

To find out how far the cancer has spread, as well as to assess the function of other organs and the success of treatment, the doctor will perform examinations:

  • X
    -rays X- rays aim to see the condition of the large intestine. To make the results clearer, the patient will be asked to drink a special dye solution (contrast) first.
  • CT scan
    CT scan  is done to see the condition of the colon and surrounding tissue in more detail.
  • Blood
    tests Blood tests can provide information about the function of various organs before the oncologist begins treatment, such as blood cell counts, liver function, and kidney function. Doctors can also perform a CEA examination to assess the response to treatment.

People who are at high risk of colon cancer are recommended to undergo colon cancer screening regularly. The goal is that cancer can be treated as soon as it appears.

Colon cancer screening is recommended for men and women aged 45 years and over. Some of the recommended checks are:

  • Stool examination , every 1 year
  • Colonoscopy, every 10 years
  • CT scan of the abdomen, every 5 years

These tests can detect the presence of blood in the stool, or polyps in the intestines that can develop into colon cancer. Discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of each examination.

Colon Cancer Stage

Based on the severity, colon cancer is divided into several stages, namely:

  • Stage 1
    At this stage, the cancer grows only in the large intestine.
  • Stage 2
    At this stage, the cancer has penetrated the colon wall.
  • Stage 3
    At this stage, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes located adjacent to the large intestine.
  • Stage 4
    This stage is the most severe stage of colon cancer. At this stage, the cancer has spread far and invaded other organs, such as the lungs or liver.

Colon cancer stage will be determined after the doctor conducts an examination of the patient. This staging helps doctors to plan the right treatment method.

Colon Cancer Treatment

Colon cancer treatment is carried out according to the stage or severity of the cancer. Some of the treatment methods to treat colon cancer are:

Operation

Surgery is performed to remove cancerous tissue in the colon. The type of surgery performed depends on the severity and spread of the cancer.

The operation is performed by cutting and removing the part of the colon affected by cancer along with a small amount of healthy tissue around it.

After that, the end of the large intestine will be connected to the rest of the large intestine leading to the anus, or directly connected to an artificial hole in the abdominal wall as a place for feces to pass. This hole is called a stoma and is created through  a colostomy surgery .

In addition to cutting the colon, surgery can also be performed to remove lymph nodes that have been affected by the spread of cancer cells.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy  is the administration of drugs to kill cancer cells. Types of chemotherapy drugs for colon cancer include fluorouracil and leucovorin , oxaliplatin and  irinotecan .

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is the use of radiation beams to kill cancer cells. These rays can be emitted from a device outside the body (external radiotherapy), or from a device placed near the cancer site (internal radiotherapy).

Target therapy

Unlike chemotherapy, which attacks both cancer cells and healthy cells, drugs in targeted therapy work by specifically killing cancer cells. Targeted therapy drugs can be given alone or in combination with other drugs. Some of the drugs used are:

  • Regorafenib
  • Cetuximab
  • Bevacizumab
  • Ramucirumab

In general, colon cancer patients diagnosed at an early stage have a higher chance of cure than patients diagnosed at a late stage.

Patients who have been declared cured of colon cancer still have the risk of suffering from cancer again. To ensure that colon cancer does not recur, the doctor will schedule regular follow-up of the patient.

Colon Cancer Prevention

Colon cancer can be prevented by  adopting a healthy lifestyle . Ways that can be done to reduce the risk of getting this disease are:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Increase fiber intake   from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Maintain  ideal body weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce or avoid consumption of alcoholic beverages

In addition, so that colon cancer can be detected as early as possible, screening through screening also needs to be done. This examination method is highly recommended, especially for people who have a family history of colon cancer and people aged 50 years and over.

Back to blog