Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor that originates in the cells of the large intestine. The presence of such a cancer, unfortunately, is very often detected too late. However, some signs may indicate its development and should be a signal for seeking medical help. Consider the symptoms of colon cancer.
Physiology of colorectal cancer
Sometimes changes occur in the cells of the tissues of the large intestine, consisting in their abnormal growth or behavior. They lead to the formation of benign tumors, such as hyperplasia or polyps, but they can also cause a precancerous condition. At the same time, cells that are subject to changes are cancerous, but the risk of becoming such is very high. The most common precancerous conditions in the colon are adenomas and hereditary oncology syndrome.
Colorectal cancer is the most common pathological change in the glandular cells of the mucous membrane of the large intestine. These cells produce mucus, which promotes the promotion of fecal masses on it. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma. It rarely develops other types of it, such as small cell and squamous colorectal cancer.
Signs of colon oncology
It is possible that the tumor in the early stages will develop asymptomatically. However, as soon as the growth of its cells into adjacent tissues and organs begins, the cancer of the rectum and colon shows symptoms. Consider them.
Early signs of the development of pathology include:
- drastic changes in the mode of bowel movement from diarrhea to constipation;
- feeling of constant fullness of the intestine even after emptying it;
- frequent urge to stool;
- the presence of blood in the feces;
- very frequent bloating, gas, colic;
- anemia, which can cause fatigue and shortness of breath;
- pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen;
- increased urinary tract infections;
- inflammation of the lymph nodes;
- nausea and vomiting.
If the symptoms of colon cancer in the early stages were not pronounced and the disease was not diagnosed in time, the developing tumor will manifest itself by such signs as:
- discharge of white, viscous, saliva-like mucus from the anus;
- the chair acquires an unusual ribbon-like character;
- pathological enlargement of the liver;
- intestinal obstruction, causing abdominal pain;
- intestinal perforation, which can trigger generalized sepsis;
- jaundice, which is characterized by yellowing of the skin and the eyes and urine;
- accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites);
- pain in the abdomen, buttocks, or legs;
- infectious peritonitis of the membrane that surrounds the peritoneal organs;
- lack of appetite;
- serious weight loss.
How is a tumor diagnosed?
When a person encounters the first symptoms of cancer in the colon or a pathology is detected during a medical examination, a series of examinations must be carried out to establish an accurate diagnosis:
- physical examination;
- complete blood count (CBC);
- chemical analysis of blood;
- laboratory analysis of feces;
- a barium enema for suspected colon perforation;
- cell and tissue research;
- stratified diagnostics using computed tomography;
- digital rectal examination;
- examination of tissues using magnetic resonance imaging;
- three-dimensional reconstruction of functional processes using positron emission tomography.
Diagnosis has several goals:
- confirmation of oncology;
- determining the type and degree of development of a cancer;
- elucidation of cancer;
- development of a treatment plan.
Prognosis is an assessment of the possible outcome of the disease. The most important factor is the stage of cancer development at the time of diagnosis. The chances of recovery increase with early detection of a cancer.
Tumors that are limited to the walls of the large intestine have a more favorable prognosis than metastasis. The smaller the number of affected nodes, the better the prognosis. Also important are the patient's age, general health, perception of treatment.
If we talk about survival statistics, then for all types of colorectal cancer, this figure is 57%. However, it varies and depends on the degree of cancer at the time of diagnosis.
In short, it should be borne in mind that the statistics on complete recovery from cancer are of a very general nature, namely:
- may vary within each stage of the cancer;
- may not take into account the latest advances in early diagnosis and methods of therapy;
- based on a large sample of cancer patients and may not accurately predict its development in a particular case;
- may not take into account other diseases associated with cancer, individual tolerance or those who die for other reasons.
Colon Cancer Therapies
For the purpose of therapeutic effects on colorectal cancer, various types of treatment are used:
- surgical intervention;
- radiation effect on the tumor;
- chemical exposure to toxic substances;
- targeted treatment.
The treatment process may have different goals depending on the type of therapy and the stage of the cancer:
- removal of tumor cells;
- prevent the spread of metastasis;
- reducing the risk of recurrence;
- treatment of diseases caused by cancer;
- improving the patient's condition to an acceptable level;
- treating symptoms in order to mitigate their effects on the patient.
Every person faces cancer in a different way. Time and practice help to adapt to life with this disease. We must try to maintain a positive attitude and hope that the quality of life can be improved throughout this ordeal. Be healthy!