Colon cancer, in most cases, begins as a series of small groups of non-cancerous cells, known as adenomatous polyps, which evolve, for different reasons, to become malignant tumors.
Although different types of colon cancer can be differentiated, depending on their characteristics, 95% of cases are adenocarcinomas. Currently, this is one of the most common cancers in men and women , especially from 50 years of age. It also constitutes one of the main causes of death.
Development of colon cancer
The development or growth of colon cancer can occur in three different ways:
In this case, the cancer cells get to invade all the layers of the lining of the digestive tract. The tumor begins its growth from the mucosa and, later, it is able to expand through the serosa until it reaches the muscular layers. Once it gets through the intestinal wall, the cancer can spread to all organs.
It occurs when the cancer manages to reach other organs through the network of lymphatic vessels that give access to multiple ganglionic regions. It should be noted that it is an ordered mode of dissemination, since it first affects the nearest lymph nodes.
Causes of colon cancer
Colon cancer can be caused by both genetic risk factors and environmental factors. Some of its main associated causes are:
- Be over 60 years of age (although the risk increases after 50 years).
- Have colorectal polyps.
- Carry a poor diet, rich in fat and poor in fiber.
- Have a family history
- Have (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis).
- Maintain a sedentary lifestyle
- Suffer from metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity.
- Alcoholism and smoking.
Symptoms of colon cancer
Colon cancer has a long evolution and symptoms can vary in each the disease progresses, some discomfort manifests itself.
However, it is important to clarify that the symptoms are not exclusive to this disease and can also occur due to other pathologies that compromise the . The most common are:
- Changes in the intestinal rhythm. Some patients experience diarrhea, while others suffer from constipation.
- Abdominal distention
- Rectal bleeding.
- Blood in the stool.
- Sensitivity and abdominal pain in the lower abdomen.
- Feel that the bowel does not empty completely.
- Stool thinner than normal.
- Weakness and fatigue.
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting.
Screening tests confirm the presence of colon cancer, even before symptoms appear. This is one of the best moments of the increases the life expectancy in the patient. The exams include:
- Physical examination and digital rectal examination.
- Fecal occult blood test (FOBT).
- Colonoscopy (the best screening test).
- Barium enema with double contrast.
Colon cancer treatment
There are several methods to deal with colon cancer once the diagnosis is made. The treatment will be carried out taking into account the severity of the disease , as well as the location of the tumor and the condition of the patient. The oncology specialist will analyze which is the best procedure to reach a higher success rate and facilitate the quick recovery of the patient. Treatments may include:
- Surgery to remove the tumor.
- Radiation therapy to attack and destroy cancerous tissue.
- Targeted therapy to prevent cancer from spreading.
Once the treatment is finished, the patient must undergo continuous medical exams , since local or distant recurrences may occur. This monitoring has as main objective to detect possible evolutions at an early stage It is often done with:
Of course, in addition to medical treatment, it is convenient that the patient leads a , maintaining good eating habits and avoiding sedentary lifestyle.
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