Colon cancer is a malignant tumor in the large intestine which is characterized by changes in the pattern of bowel movements continuously. The disease often starts as a benign tumor called a polyp.
Until now, the cause of colon cancer is not known clearly. 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 digestive disorders, such as diarrhea or constipation , and have a family with colon cancer, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
The earlier it is detected, the possibility of colon cancer to be cured will also be greater.
Colon Cancer Causes
Colon cancer is caused by changes or gene mutations 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 colon cancer, including:
- Diet low in fiber
- 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 colon cancer, namely:
- Have a parent or sibling with colon cancer
- Suffering from intestinal polyps
- Suffering from overweight or obesity
- Have diabetes
- Suffering from inflammatory bowel disease
- Have had radiotherapy to the abdomen
- Suffering from a genetic disorder called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome
- Over 50 years old
Colon Cancer Symptoms
Colon cancer symptoms in the 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 stomach
- Cramps or stomach pain
- Changes in the shape and color of stool
- Bleeding CHAPTER
If it has entered an advanced stage, colon cancer sufferers may experience symptoms in the form of:
- Often feel CHAPTER is incomplete
- Changes in the form of stool that last more than a month
- Weight loss drastically
If colon cancer has spread to other parts of the body, symptoms may appear in the form of:
- Jaundice (jaundice)
- Blurred vision
- Swelling of the arms and legs
- Broken bones
- Hard to breathe
When to see a doctor
As previously stated, colon cancer sufferers may not experience any symptoms at first. Therefore, consult a doctor if you feel complaints that could be symptoms of colon cancer, such as:
- Recurrent diarrhea or constipation
- Changes in the shape and color of stool
- CHAPTER as incomplete
- Bleeding CHAPTER
Examination to the doctor is also highly recommended if you have a family suffering 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 whether 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 carry out a physical examination and supporting examinations, such as:
Endoscopy is performed by a gastroenterologist to view 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 using a flexible tube, endoscopy can be performed using a capsule with a camera that the patient must swallow.
A biopsy is done by taking a sample of intestinal tissue to be examined under a microscope. The goal is to see whether there are malignant (cancer) cells.
A biopsy can be done during a colonoscopy or during surgery to remove part of the large intestine.
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 examine:
-rays X- rays aim to see the condition of the large intestine. In order for the results to be clearer, the patient will be asked to drink a special dye solution (contrast) first.
CT scan is done to see the condition of the colon and surrounding tissue in more detail.
tests Blood tests can provide information about the function of various organs before an oncologist prescribes treatment, such as blood cell counts, liver function, and kidney function. Doctors can also do a CEA examination to assess response to treatment.
People who are at high risk of colon cancer are advised to undergo regular colon cancer screening. The goal is that cancer can be treated immediately when it appears.
Colon cancer screening is recommended for men and women aged 45 and over. Some of the recommended checks are:
- Stool examination , every 1 year
- Colonoscopy, every 10 years
- Abdominal CT scan, every 5 years
This examination can detect blood in the stool, or polyps in the intestine that can develop into colon cancer. Discuss with your doctor about the benefits and risks of each examination.
Colon Cancer Stage
Based on the severity, colon cancer is divided into several stages, namely:
At this stage, the cancer only grows in the large intestine.
At this stage, the cancer has penetrated the colon wall.
At this stage, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes adjacent to the large intestine.
This stage is the most severe level 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 examines the patient. This staging helps doctors to plan the right method of treatment.
Colon Cancer Treatment
Colon cancer treatment is carried out according to the stage or severity of the cancer. Some methods of treatment for colon cancer are:
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 cancer-affected part of the colon along with a bit of healthy tissue around it.
After that, the end of the large intestine will be connected to the rest of the large intestine that leads to the anus, or directly connected to an artificial hole in the abdominal wall as a place for feces to come out. This opening is called a stoma and is created through colostomy surgery .
Apart from cutting the colon, surgery can also be performed to remove lymph nodes that have been affected by the spread of cancer cells.
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 is the use of radiation beams to kill cancer cells. This light can be emitted from devices outside the body (external radiotherapy), or from devices installed near the cancer site (internal radiotherapy).
Unlike chemotherapy which attacks cancer cells as well as 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:
In general, colon cancer patients diagnosed at an early stage have a higher chance of recovery 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 patient controls.
Colon Cancer Prevention
Colon cancer can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle . Ways that can be done to reduce the risk of developing this disease are:
- Exercise regularly
- Increase fiber intake from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Maintain an ideal weight
- Stop smoking
- Reducing or avoiding consumption of alcoholic beverages
In addition, so that colon cancer can be detected as early as possible, screening tests also need to be done. This examination method is highly recommended, especially for people who have families with a history of colon cancer and people aged 50 years and over.