What Tests are Conducted to Diagnose Colon Cancer or Cancer of the Colon?
One or more of the following test procedures can be recommended by your doctor if there is an indication of colon cancer or cancer of the colon through your symptoms:
- Invasive colonoscopy for colon cancer or cancer of the colon: Using a scope when examining inside the colon. The entire rectum and the colon are monitored by a video camera attached to slender and flexible tube when doing colonoscopy.
- Virtual colonoscopy using CT (Computed Tomography) scans for detecting colon cancer or cancer of the colon: Creating the picture of the colon through the use of CT scans. A picture that is detailed of the insider of your colon is produced through multiple combinations of CT images in a CT scan which is also known as virtual colonoscopy.
What are the Stages involved in Colon Cancer or Cancer of the Colon?
The stage of the colon cancer or cancer of the colon will have to be determined after one has been diagnosed with cancer of the colon through test ordered by the doctor.
Chest and abdominal CT (Computed Tomography) scans are the imaging procedure included in staging tests. Colon cancer or cancer of the colon surgery can be the only determination of the of the colon cancer. The 4 stages of colon cancer or cancer of the colon are:
- Stage I Colon Cancer or Stage 1 Cancer of the Colon: The cancer growth is grown in the mucosa (superficial lining) of the rectum or colon but it has not gone beyond the lining of the rectum or colon.
- Stage II Colon Cancer or Stage II Cancer of the Colon: The cancer growth has gone to the wall of the rectum or the colon but the lymph nodes have not been affected.
- Stage III Colon Cancer or Stage III Cancer of the Colon: The neighboring lymph nodes have been affected but other parts of the body has not been affected yet.
- Stage IV Colon Cancer or Stage IV Cancer of the Colon: The other organs have been affected by the cancer such as the liver or lung.
What are the Treatment Options for Colon Cancer or Cancer of the Colon?
The stage of the colon cancer or cancer of the colon will determine the treatment type that will be recommended by the doctor. The options that are available are three, and they are:
- Surgery for colon cancer or cancer of the colon
- Chemotherapy for colon cancer or cancer of the colon
- Radiation therapy for colon cancer or cancer of the colon
Early Stage Surgery for Colon Cancer or Cancer of the Colon
Early stage surgery for colon cancer or cancer of the colon is possible using colonoscopy, endoscopic mucosal resection and laparoscopy.
- The cancer or the polyp can be removed by our doctor, completely if it is small and localized using the method of colonoscopy.
- Endoscopic mucosal resection can be used in the removal of larger polyps. Additional treatment might not be required if the pathologist ascertains that the removal of cancer was on its entirety.
- Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that can be used in the removal of polyps during colonoscopy. When performing the operating procedure, the surgeon, through several incisions on the abdominal lining, inserts instruments that are attached with cameras which display the colon via a video monitor. Lymph nodes samples on the affected area can be taken by your surgeon.
Invasive Colon Cancer or Cancer of the Colon Surgery
Invasive colon cancer or cancer of the colon surgery is possible using partial colostomy. If the growth of the colon cancer or cancer of the colon has gone into/through the colon, the part of the colon affected by the cancer can be removed through partial colostomy as recommended by your surgeon. Margin of tissues that are normal are removed on either side affected by cancer. The neighboring lymph nodes are also removed then tested for cancer.
The healthy parts of your rectum or colon are usually reconnected by the surgeon. But if this is impossible for instance if the location of the cancer is at the rectum's outlet, a temporary or a permanent colostomy may be necessary. This entails the making of an opening on the abdominal walls from the portion of the bowel that remains for getting rid of the body waste in a special bag. In some instances, colonoscopy can be temporary, which allows time for the rectum and colon for healing following surgery. Colonoscopy can be permanent in some cases.
Advanced Cancer Surgery for Colon Cancer or Cancer of the Colon
Advanced cancer surgery for colon cancer or cancer of the colon is recommended if the individual's health is weak. If your health is poor, and the advancement of your cancer is high, the recommendation of your surgeon can be the revealing of colon blockage through operation, or other conditions so as to control the symptoms. This surgery is not aimed at getting rid of the cancer, but it is for signs and symptoms to relieve, like pain and bleeding.
In some instances when the spread if cancer has reached the liver only and your are healthy overall, your doctors recommendations can be surgery for the removal of cancerous lesions from the liver, chemotherapy can be used before or after this surgical procedure. Your prognosis may be improved by this treatment.
Chemotherapy for Treating Colon Cancer or Cancer of the Colon
If the spread of cancer has extended to the lymph nodes, then the chemotherapy for colon cancer or cancer of the colon is given usually after the surgery. Cancer recurrence can be reduced through the help of chemotherapy.
Symptoms owing to colon cancer or cancer of the colon can also be relieved by chemotherapy and prevented from spreading to other body parts. Shrinking of cancer can be done by using chemotherapy prior to surgery. Radiation is used along with chemotherapy in people with rectal cancer.
Radiation Therapy for Treating Colon Cancer or Cancer of the Colon
In the early stages of colon cancer or cancer of the colon, it is rare to use radiation therapy, despite being used routinely in the treatment of rectal cancer, specifically when the spread of cancer has exceeded the lymph nodes and the rectal lining. Combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for colon cancer or cancer of the colon can be used following a surgery for the reduction of recurrence of the cancer in the same location where it originated.
Targeted Drug Therapy for Colon Cancer or Cancer of the Colon
Targeted drug therapy for colon cancer or cancer of the colon is not for everybody. People whose colon cancer or cancer of the colon is so advanced, have access to targeted drugs which targets defects owing the growth of cancer cells. These include regorafenib (stivarga), panitumumab (Vectibix), cetuximab (Erbitux) and bevacizumab (Avastin). Targeted drugs can be administered with chemotherapy or unaccompanied. Targeted drugs help some individuals while other are not helped.
Are There any Alternative Medications for Colon Cancer or Cancer of the Colon?
Other alternative or complimentary medicine, curing colon cancer or cancer of the colon, has not been found.
Coping with colon cancer's diagnosis is the alternative treatment's use. Some distress is experienced by almost all cancer patients. Loss of appetite, sleeping difficulty, lack of concentration, depression, anger and sadness are the signs and symptoms that are common in distress following diagnosis. Redirecting the thoughts can be enhanced by alternative treatment, temporarily, for relieving distress. Relieving distress from colon cancer or cancer of the colon through alternative treatments can be achieved by: Exercise, Meditation, Art therapy, Movement or dance therapy, Relaxation exercises, Music therapy etc…
You can be referred by your doctor to a professional who helps in learning and trying these alternative treatments. If you have distress experience, notify your doctor.