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Colon cancer: symptoms, causes and prognosis

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Colon cancer is one of the most common worldwide, being a condition with good prospects for recovery whenever detected in time and not in an advanced stage. This cancer occurs in the mucosa of the large intestine and can spread to the rectum, known as colorectal cancer. Going for frequent checkups to determine the state of our colon, especially after the age of 50 or when there are cases of indirect relatives, and attending to the possible signs that could indicate the presence of a tumor in this area, is essential for an early diagnosis. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain colon cancer’s causes, symptoms, and prognosis.

Risk factors for the appearance of colon cancer

In the case of colon cancer, several risk factors can significantly increase the chances of suffering from this condition; among them are:

  • Being older than 60 years, although in people with a high genetic predisposition, the disease can appear from 35.
  • I have one or more direct relatives who have suffered from this disease because colon cancer has a high hereditary component. In these cases, yearly check-ups are essential to detect this condition in time.
  • Patients who have suffered from colon polyps, inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, and women from breast cancer are more likely to suffer from this condition.
  • Leading a sedentary life, suffering from obesity, and having a diet affluent in fat, red meat, and poor in fiber are considered factors that could significantly affect the appearance of this disease.

Colon cancer types

The most common colon cancer is the carcinoma type, which affects between 90 and 95% of patients, developing in the mucosa that lines the inner part of the colon and rectum and progressing, if not treated, to other areas of the intestine. Thick.

However, other less frequent types of colon cancer can occur; these are:

  • Sarcoma: manifests itself in the muscle of the digestive tract.
  • Carcinoid tumors: They happen in the cells that produce hormones in the digestive system.
  • Lymphoma: occurs when cancer attacks the lymphatic cells of the intestine and stomach.
  • Melanoma: melanomas in the colorectal area, a low condition.

Colon cancer symptoms

Identifying the symptoms of colon cancer is not always easy as this disease evolves very slowly, and its signs may vary depending on the area in which the tumor is located or be confused with other conditions such as hemorrhoids or intestinal disorders.

Symptoms usually appear when colon cancer is advanced; some of the most common are:

  • Blood in the stool may be deep red or black. When blood loss is significant, anemia can occur.
  • Change in the rhythm of bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation, or periods in which both conditions occur.
  • Intestinal pain and discomfort. Bowel obstructions may occur in more severe cases.
  • Weight loss with no apparent cause.
  • Loss of appetite, tiredness, and apathy.

Since the symptoms do not usually appear in the early stages and can be confused with other conditions, the best way to detect this disease is to have a colonoscopy periodically starting at 50. In cases where there are direct relatives with this cancer or a greater genetic predisposition, it is essential to get checkups from an early age.

Faced with any signs above, it is essential to contact a doctor.

Prognosis in patients with this condition

The prognosis of recovery from colon cancer will depend on the stage in which the patient is, the size of the tumor, and its presence in the lymph nodes or other organs. The steps of this condition are:

  • Stage 0: This is the earliest stage; the tumor is in the superficial part of the colon and does not affect other organs or the nodes.
  • Stage I: The cancer is in the colon and rectum wall but without penetrating the muscle layer.
  • Stage II: Cancer has penetrated the muscular layer of the colon and rectum and can spread to other organs. However, it has not affected the lymph nodes.
  • Stage III: The disease has affected nearby nodes and organs.
  • Stage IV: Cancer has spread to other organs in the body, usually affecting the lungs, liver, and bones.

The cure prognosis will depend on the condition stage; in stages 0, I, and II, there are high recovery percentages, while patients in stage III also have cure alternatives. Although some exceptions exist, stage IV colon cancer is not considered curable.

Colon cancer treatment

After diagnosing the disease, only a specialist will be able to determine the appropriate treatment to improve the patient’s recovery expectations; the treatments are usually combined with increasingly positive results.

To treat colon cancer, you can choose to:

  • Surgery: allows the tumor to be removed and is usually the most frequent option in patients in stage 0; it can also be applied in patients in stages I, II, and III; however, in these cases, it will be a significant intervention that may require the application of other treatments in parallel.
  • Chemotherapy is the frequent treatment in patients in stage III to improve the results and be the alternative to prolong the survival of patients in setting IV.
  • Radiation therapy: can be applied in combination with chemotherapy or used in cases of metastasis.
  • Immunotherapy: a treatment that serves to restore the body’s defenses and improve the health of the immune system.

Prevent colon cancer

In cases where there are direct relatives with colon cancer, the best way to prevent the disease is by performing periodic checkups to rule out its presence. Patients who suffer from benign polyps in the area and who are cared for on time should also be checked frequently to monitor the possible appearance of the disease in the medium or long term.

Both women and men over 50 should undergo periodic checkups of the colon to detect this condition early. It is also essential to take care of certain habits that can reduce the risk of suffering from this disease, so it is recommended:

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet low in fat and rich in fiber. Ingesting at least two liters of water and having a good diet facilitates intestinal transit, reducing the chances of suffering from this condition.
  • Get frequent exercise.
  • Maintain a good weight and avoid obesity.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Colon Cancer: Symptoms, Causes and Prognosis , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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