Cecum Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
Cecum is a pouch that is considered to be the first part of the large intestine. It is found on the right side of the body to the side where appendix is joined. In Latin, the term cecum means “blind” which came from the word caecum. Large intestine comprises of five segments namely cecum, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon and the sigmoid colon.
It is very difficult to catch or find the signs and symptoms of cecum cancer. 44 weeks is the average duration of cecum cancer symptoms before operation. The average age of people suffering from cecum cancer is found to be 47 years. In some reports, patients with less than 30 years of age are also a victim of cecum cancer. According to the reports, a 19 year old boy was found to have cecum cancer and is the youngest patient and a 72 year old man was found to be the oldest one suffering from cecum cancer.
What is the Function of Cecum?
Cecum helps to absorb the nutrients from bowels which help to start the reabsorption process of water resulting in the waste you see when you excrete feces. Just like we can live without appendix, it is possible to live without cecum too. Cecum is present at the right side of abdomen where appendix is positioned.
Symptoms of Cecum Cancer
There is a difference of symptoms between colon cancer and cecum cancer. Cecum cancer symptoms can be non-specific and often doesn’t surface early. This means that the disease lead into an advanced stage before you get hold of the symptoms. The average duration of symptoms of cecum cancer is 10 months before a person understands and undergoes an operation. Symptoms which are common in colorectal cancer are not likely to be same in cecum cancer. The potential symptoms of cecum cancer are listed below:
There will be unintentional weight loss with advanced tumors. In a period of 6 to 12 month, there will be a loss of 5% of body weight. Weight loss can range from 3 kg to 25 kg with an average being 11 kg (25 pounds).
Change in Bowel Habits:
Just like other colorectal cancer, symptoms related to bowel movement can also be seen in case of cecum cancer. One might have constipation, loss of appetite and diarrhea. Due to bleeding in cecum, black-stool can also be a symptom of cecum cancer. One may also excrete small and narrow stool.
Pain in Abdomen:
Abdominal pain is also non-specific just like gas and bloating. There are chances that pain can be due to different issues. So, it is difficult to identify the main reason of pain and one cannot say much about the location of underlying problem.
Anemia as a Symptom of Cecum Cancer:
There may be symptoms that include shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, increase in heart rate, etc. There can be bleeding from colon which can be observed under microscopic condition only by a doctor. The internal bleeding from cecum can also be a reason for anemia.
A person may feel extremely nauseous and the expelled material is usually yellowish in color. They might go through intense pain and emotional stress.
Diagnosis of Cecum Cancer
In order to detect the cancer of cecum, colonoscopy is the best test. Colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination in which the doctor looks into your large intestine for detecting the cause of abdominal pain, changes in the habits of bowel and rectal bleeding. In colonoscopy, doctors look for polyps by entering colonoscope through your entire colon up to the cecum. If doctors detect any polyps, it can be removed. Colonoscopy not only detects the polyps but on the removal of these polyps, it is sent for testing and it can prevent the growth of colon cancer or help in early diagnosis and treatment of cecum cancer. In diagnosis, radiologic examination by barium enema can be the most accurate aid as the cecum cancer can replicate severe appendicitis pain.
Barium enema or CT of abdomen can also be done to explore the area of cecum. This test is done for any evidence to know the spread of cecum cancer.
Treatment of Cecum Cancer
It is never too late for anything you just need to keep calm and have faith. If the cecum cancer is too large and cannot be removed by polypectomy procedure, then you need to remove it through surgery. Hemicolectomy is the most common type of surgery for the cancer of cecum. Hemicolectomy is a procedure in which one side of the colon is removed. In case of cecum cancer, this surgery eliminates the right side of colon and remaining portion is re-attached to the small intestine. Treatments like chemotherapy and radiation is recommended depending on the stage of the cecum cancer.