Colon cancer is a type of cancer that can occur in the large intestine (colon) or rectum of the digestive system. This type of cancer is among the most common cancers worldwide.
- What is Colon Cancer?
- What should be done to prevent colon cancer?
- Stages of colon cancer
- Early diagnosis of Colon Cancer saves lives
What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon) or rectum. Cancer that occurs in the lower part of the large intestine (left colon) or rectum is called colorectal cancer. Colon cancer is a common type of cancer, especially in people over the age of 50.
Colon cancer is caused by small, initially noncancerous tumors, commonly known as adenomatous polyps. These polyps can contain cancerous cells over time and turn into cancer. Symptoms of colon cancer may include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, bloody stools, weight loss, fatigue, and sometimes intestinal obstruction.
Early detection is the most important factor for treating colon cancer. For this reason, it is recommended to perform colon cancer screening tests from the age of 50. Screening tests may include colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, fecal occult blood test (FOBT), stool DNA testing (FIT-DNA), and double contrast bowel X-ray (CBI).
Treatment for colon cancer depends on the stage and spread of the cancer. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are common treatment options used to treat colon cancer. Treatment aims to cure the cancer completely and is often combined with supportive treatments to improve patients’ quality of life.
What should be done to prevent colon cancer?
Colonoscopy is recommended to prevent colon cancer. Colonoscopy is an endoscopy method to examine the lining of the large intestine. This test is used to detect precancerous polyps or colon cancer early. Colonoscopy is regularly recommended for healthy people from the age of 50.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that all adults from the age of 45 have colorectal cancer screening tests. Screening tests may include colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, fecal occult blood test (FOBT), stool DNA testing (FIT-DNA), and double contrast bowel X-ray (CBI).
Colonoscopy is more accurate than other screening tests and can prevent the development of colorectal cancer by removing polyps. If, as a result of a normal colonoscopy, precancerous polyps are removed, a repeat colonoscopy can be performed after 3-5 years. If there are no polyps, it is recommended that the person have a colonoscopy again after 10 years.
However, if you have a family history of colon cancer, genetic factors, or other risk factors, screening tests may be required as often as recommended by your doctor. By talking to your doctor, you can determine the most appropriate screening method and frequency for you.
Stages of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer stages determine the spread and severity of cancer and play an important role in the choice of treatment options. Colon cancer stages can be classified as follows:
Stage 0: Cancer is found only on the inner surface of the colon. This stage is usually diagnosed during the detection of precancerous tumors, called adenomatous polyps.
Stage 1: The cancer has spread to the inner layers of the colon but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs.
Stage 2: The cancer has progressed further to the wall of the colon and has spread to the lymph nodes, but not to nearby organs.
Stage 3: The cancer has spread to the tissues or organs around the colon and has also spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage 4: The cancer has spread to another part of the body (liver, lung, brain, etc.) and distant metastases have formed.
Colon cancer stages play an important role in determining the treatment and prognosis of cancer. Colon cancers diagnosed in the early stages may have a higher rate of treatment success. For this reason, it is recommended to perform colon cancer screening tests from the age of 50, even if there are no symptoms.
Colon Cancer: Early Detection Saves Lives
When colon cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the chance of treatment is quite high. Therefore, regular colon cancer screenings can be life-saving. People aged 50 and over are recommended to have a fecal occult blood test once a year. It is also recommended that people aged 50 and over have a colonoscopy every 10 years. If there is a family history of colon cancer or if there are symptoms, screenings should be done at an earlier age. Thanks to early detection, the treatment process can be easier and more successful.
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