Colon Cancer: Symptoms, Stages & Treatment

Colon Cancer: Symptoms, Stages & Treatment

Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that develops in the colon (large intestine) or rectum. While it’s a serious condition, early detection and treatment significantly improve the chances of a successful outcome. This blog aims to empower you with knowledge about colon cancer, its symptoms, stages, and treatment options.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer : 

Colon cancer often begins as small, benign clumps of cells called polyps that form inside the colon. Over time, some of these polyps can become colon cancers. Symptoms may not appear in the early stages, but as the condition progresses, individuals may experience:

  1. Changes in bowel habits: This could include constipation, diarrhea, or a narrower stool than usual.
  2. Blood in the stool: This can appear bright red or make your stool dark brown or black.
  3. Rectal bleeding: You might notice blood on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl.
  4. Abdominal pain or cramping: This pain can be persistent or come and go.
  5. Unexplained weight loss: You might lose weight without trying.
  6. Fatigue and weakness: You might feel constantly tired and lacking in energy.
  7. Feeling like your bowels haven’t emptied completely: This can occur even after a bowel movement.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis.

Stages of Colon Cancer : 

Colon cancer is categorized into various stages based on how far the cancer has spread:

Stage I: Cancer has grown into the superficial layer of the colon but has not spread beyond the colon wall.

Stage II: Cancer has spread through the wall of the colon but has not yet affected the lymph nodes.

Stage III: Cancer has invaded nearby lymph nodes but not other parts of the body.

Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage, where cancer has spread to distant organs, such as the liver or lungs.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of colon cancer is not known. It occurs when healthy cells in the colon develop errors in their DNA. These mutated cells divide abnormally and accumulate in the colon to form a tumor. Over time, these abnormal cells can invade adjacent tissues and migrate to other organs, a process known as metastasis.

Certain inherited gene mutations increase the risk of developing colon cancer. Other risk factors include being African-American, having chronic inflammatory diseases, consuming a high-fat, low-fiber diet, alcoholism, smoking, and advanced age.

Treatment for Colon Cancer: 

The treatment of colon cancer has made significant strides in recent years. Options now include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies. The choice of treatment depends on the cancer’s stage, location, and the patient’s overall health.

  • Surgery is often the first step, especially for cancers that have not spread beyond the colon.
  • Chemotherapy: uses medication to kill cancer cells, often used after surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells for stages II, III, and IV.
  • Radiation Therapy: uses high-energy rays to target and kill cancer cells, typically utilized for rectal cancer treatment to shrink tumors before surgery.
  • Immunotherapy: a treatment that leverages the body’s immune system to fight cancer, suitable for patients with specific genetic markers like Lynch syndrome or MSI-H colorectal cancer.
  • Treatment Combinations: Combining treatments such as chemotherapy with other therapies has proven effective, especially in advanced stages

Specialist for Colon Cancer Treatment in Pune

When facing a colon cancer diagnosis, having a knowledgeable and experienced oncologist by your side is important. Dr. Sumit Shah, with 14 years of expertise in surgical oncology, is regarded as a leading oncologist in Pune. His extensive experience in treating various stages of colon cancer through surgical and non-surgical methods makes him a trusted choice for patients seeking complete and compassionate care.

Remember, early detection is key in the fight against colon cancer. If you or someone you know is exhibiting symptoms of colon cancer, seek medical attention immediately.