Colon Cancers – What is a Colon Polyp? What is a Colonoscopy?

Colon cancers also known as colorectal cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon) and rectum (end of the colon). The cancer usually starts from the inner wall of the colon and it begins as non-cancerous tumors called polyps. Polyps are harmless and if left untreated can develop into cancer overtime. The cancer can spread through the wall of the colon and spread to other part of the body such as liver, lungs, brain, and bones. Once the cancer has spread to other part of the body, the cancer cannot be cure completely.

Causes of Colon Cancers

There are number of factors that increase the risk of colorectal cancer and these include.

• Old age
• High fat diet
• Have colon polyps
• Ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease
• Family history of colorectal cancer
• Personal history of breast cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer

Other factors that increase the risk of colorectal cancer include

• Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
• Attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (AFAP)
• Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)
• Obesity
• Cigarettes smoking
• Alcohol consumption

Symptoms of Colon Cancers

Colorectal cancer can be present for several years with no sign of symptoms. There are many symptoms associated with colorectal cancer and these include diarrhea, constipation, narrow stools, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, rectal pain, unexplained weight loss, and bloating.

Colon Cancers Screening

Early detection is the best method of treating and preventing colorectal cancer. Early detection allow for early treatment where early stages of cancer can be cure completely. Once the cancer progressed to later stage and spreads to different part of the organs, the cancer cannot be cure completely.

There are number of test that can be performed to detect colorectal cancer and these include colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and barium enema x-ray.

• Colonoscopy use an instrument called colonoscope, a flexible tube with tiny camera on the end which is inserted into the colon through the anus. The internal colons are examined for the presence of tumors or polyps.

• Sigmoidoscopy use an instrument called sigmoidoscope, a flexible tube with tiny camera on the end which is inserted into the rectum and lower part of the colon. The rectum and the colon are examined for the presence of tumors or polyps.

• Barium enema x-ray involves the use of barium liquid given to the patient before the x-ray. Any tumors or polyps that are present in the colon are highlighted on the x-ray.

Once the cancer has been detected, biopsy (removal of tissues sample) is performed to be certain the cancer is present. If biopsy confirmed the presence of cancer, ultrasound and CT scan can be use to determine whether the cancer has spread to other part of the body. There are different stages of colorectal cancer and these include the following.

• Stage 0: Early stage of cancer where the cancer begins to grow from the inner wall of the colon.

• Stage 1: The cancer has developed from the inner wall of the colon.

• Stage 2: The cancer has spread through the wall of the colon but has not spread to nearby organs.

• Stage 3: The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

• Stage 4: The cancer has spread to other part of the body.

Types of treatment

The types of treatment used to treat the cancer depend on the stages of the disease. Colorectal cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Early stage of cancer can be treated successfully with surgery alone and late stages of cancer involve a combination of treatment to successfully treat the disease. Stage 4 cancers that have spread to other part of the body may be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. However, at this stage the cancer cannot be cure completely.

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