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Colon Cancer: The Terminal Gut Disease

Colon Cancer Treatment Options

What Is Colon Cancer Treatment And Surgery?

Abnormal growth of cells in the large intestine, which forms the terminal part of the gut, is known as colon cancer. Various methods to cure this condition are available both in surgical and non surgical forms and form the treatment modality strata. Food after its complete procession is passed into the large intestine called as colon and finally expelled from the body through the rectum. Cancer can occur anywhere along the course of the large intestine.

Causes of Colon Cancer:

  • Dietary modifications: Excessive consumption of fats and including very little amount of fiber in your diet predisposes the body to colon cancer due to inadequate amount of roughage
  • Prolonged smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol can act as a trigger and cause over production of cells in the large intestine
  • Colon cancers can also have a genetic inheritance
  • Obesity, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to colon cancer
  • Exposure of the abdominal region to radiation for some other treatment may also lead to cancer of the large intestine owing to its highly sensitive nature of cells.

Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer:

  • Change in the bowel movements such as constipation, diarrhea
  • Blood in stools
  • Pain on passing stools
  • A feeling of heaviness even after passing stools
  • General weakness, nausea, vomiting
  • Pain and discomfort in the abdominal region

Diagnosis of Colon Cancer:

  • Blood tests: Blood tests are done in order to look for the colon tumor markers if at all they are present. Further tests are then run in order for a more confirmatory diagnosis.
  • Stool examination and culture: If blood in the stools is a symptom, then stool sample is collected and cultured. This can help to detect the presence of any cancer cells or any atypical cells which can be indicative of colon cancer.
  • Ultrasound: A USG will help in the location of cancer along the course of the colon. It also gives insight into the adjacent tissues such as rectum, lymph nodes or the small intestine being invaded by the cancer mass.
  • Colonoscopy: It is a procedure similar to endoscopy. A long tubular rod is inserted into the large intestine to one end of which a small camera is attached. This camera when travels along the course of the entire large intestine, captures the images and the same can be seen on a monitor outside in the clinical setup and the cancer mass location and number can be appreciated by the physician/surgeon/oncologist.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: This method uses electromagnetic field waves to study the soft tissues in humans. Cancer mass can be seen as a radiolucent area with its borders and extent to which it has involved the large intestine or the adjacent tissues with the help of MRI.

Types of Colon Cancer:

Colon cancers are staged according to the localization of the cancer and the ability of the spread to the adjacent tissues. It can be grouped in four stages as follows:

Stage I: Cancer is restricted to the epithelial lining of the colon

Stage II: Cancer has penetrated through the wall of the colon but has not involved the lymph nodes yet

Stage III: Along with the colon wall or maybe the rectal wall, the lymph nodes are also affected with the cancer mass, but not to any other surrounding tissues

Stage IV: The cancer has spread to distant sites such as liver, lung

Treatment Procedures for Colon Cancer:

  • Radiation therapy RT: Beams of radiation are targeted towards the large intestine in order to kill the cancer cells. However, the beam is not target specific and some adjacent healthy tissues can also get damaged in the process. The curative type of RT aims at curing the cancer by actually bringing about death of the cells and total disintegration of the cancer mass. A palliative type of RT only brings about suppression in the growth of the cancer cells and provides relief from the cancer symptoms. It cannot however completely cure cancer from the colon.
  • Chemotherapy: In this process, anti cancer drugs are administered which bring about killing of the cancer mass. This method uses a combination of cancer lethal drugs. These drugs reduce the oxygen and nutrient availability for the cancer cells which ultimately results in their death.
  • Proton beam therapy: This is a variant of radiation therapy in which a pencil shaped beam directs protons instead of electrons to the target site. In this case the target site is the large intestine. It is a better and safe option as compared to the radiation therapy since it is specific and also does not harm the adjacent tissues as is seen in standard radiation therapy.
  • Immunotherapy: In this method, antibodies against the colon cancer mass are injected to the patient to fight against the cancer. Ideally it is the human body which should be producing enough antibodies to kill the colon cancer mass. But in such cases, patients have least immunity and are still expected to fight the cancer. Hence immunotherapy has been introduced into the field of medicine where artificial antibodies are injected to the patient.
  • Palliative therapy: Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. It does not aim at eradicating cancer, it only provides relief from the symptoms and tends to suppress the growth of cancer. When palliative care is used along with all of the other appropriate treatments, people with cancer may feel better and live longer. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specially trained professionals. Palliative care teams aim to improve the quality of life for people with cancer and their families. This form of care is offered alongside curative or other treatments you may be receiving.

Surgical management:

  • Colonoscopy assisted polyp removal: If the cancer stage is in initial phases and the polyp is contained well within the epithelial lining, it can be removed with the help of scalpel during the colonoscopy procedure.
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection: This is the choice of treatment for polyps which are still in the mucosa of the large intestine. A larger rod and camera are inserted which is the endoscope, into the large intestine for a better access and view of the colon cancer.
  • Minimally invasive surgery: This is a laparoscopic approach for surgical removal of colon cancer mass or masses. Multiple small incisions are made in the abdomen and surgical apparatus is inserted and the cancer mass is removed. It refrains from making the conventional long and oblong incisions in the abdomen and also prevents the heavy suturing that follows a conventional procedure. The infected lymph nodes may or may not be removed along with this procedure. This is entirely the surgeon’s decision once the patient is cut open on the operation table.
  • Partial colectomy: During this procedure, the surgeon removes the part of colon that contains the cancer, along with a margin of normal tissue on either side of the cancer. The healthy parts that remain behind are also tied back together and reconnected.
  • Lymph node removal: This can be attempted at the time of colonoscopy or can also be done as a separate procedure in which the affected lymph nodes are removed.

Complications And Risk Factors Associated With Colon Cancer:

  • Bowel movements may remain disturbed for a few weeks, constipation or diarrhea may be seen
  • Infections are common with the site of wounds
  • These can be aggravated due to increased blood sugar levels and hypertension
  • Smoking, alcohol also tend to worsen the conditions

Am I Good Candidate for Pancreatic Colon Treatment?

If any of the below mentioned parameters concern your health, you are an ideal case for colon cancer treatment and must visit an appropriate specialist as soon as possible. The parameters include:

  • Heavy blood in stools
  • Sharp shooting pain while passing stools
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Alternate cycles of constipation and diarrhea
  • Distress in the abdominal region

Recovery Time:

If no underlying systemic diseases are present, patients tend to recover in a week’s time and do not require an extensive hospital stay.

Success Rate:

Success rate for a stage I and II is 95 percent with very little chances for relapse. For a stage III cancer success is in the range of 90 to 93 percent. For a stage four cancer, a combined treatment of surgery and radiation both have a success chance of 88 t0 90 percent.

Benefits of Colon Cancer Treatment and Surgery:

You can benefit in the following ways if the colon cancer treatment is done at the correct time with the correct approach:

  • Maintains a normal bowel movement
  • Prevents blood loss via stools
  • Saves you of the pain and discomfort in the abdomen region
  • Prevents the involvement of lungs and liver, since the cancer is not allowed to metastasize and stopped in the initial stages

Cost comparisons:

The cost for a surgical management of colon cancer is in the range of 6000 USD to 7500 USD in the States. However this cost is reduced to about approximately 40 percent in Indian hospitals.

Why Choose India:

MedcureIndia makes quite an apt proclamation is calling itself as one of the prime platforms of medical tourism in the India. And very righteously we direct our clients to the best of cancer institute’s making sure our people are in safe hands.

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