Treating Colon Cancer

Video Topic : This animation explains how colon cancer forms and how it can be treated through chemotherapy and surgery.

The colon is part of the digestive system.
This organ is responsible for extracting water and salt from solid wastes before they are eliminated from the body. Due to genetic predesposition, lifestyle, or both, new tissue may form in the colon.
This growth can be benign or malignant. Early detection can be done through an examination called colonoscopy. Colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding. In this procedure, an endoscope is used. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube that can conform to the shape of the colon, allowing doctors to peak into hidden spaces in the body. The endoscope navigates through the descending, transverse, and ascending colon, searching for irregularities. In the video, a polyp is found, an abnormal growth of tissue. The development of polyp as it grows is explained.

A view inside the colon reveals a polyp. With a special channel in the endoscope that is controlled from the outside, the polyp is removed by the wire loop that simultaneously cuts the stalk of the polyp and cauterizes it to prevent bleeding. The removed polyp will be examined to find out whether it is benign or cancerous. The sliced polyp reveals the mutated cells and if the cells' multiplication is out of control, surgery is an option. The colon with the tumor is excised and the two separated parts of the colon get reattached. If the cancer cells have entered the bloodstream, chemotherapy is the treatment of choice. Anticancer drugs destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or multiplying.

Colorectal Cancer

Also called: Colon cancer, Rectal cancer

The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer occurs when tumors form in the lining of the large intestine. It is common in both men and women. The risk of developing colorectal cancer rises after age 50. You're also more likely to get it if you have colorectal polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, eat a diet high in fat, or smoke.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • A feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Frequent gas pains or cramps, or feeling full or bloated
  • Weight loss with no known reason
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting

Because you may not have symptoms at first, it's important to have screening tests. Everyone over 50 should get screened. Tests include colonoscopy and tests for blood in the stool. Treatments for colorectal cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination. Surgery can usually cure it when it is found early.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.