The third most diagnosed cancer for both men and women in the United States is colon cancer. Cancer is a tragic disease that affects many people each year all over the world. Colon cancer begins in the large intestine or the colon. Typically it starts as polyps inside of the digestive tract and over time some of these polyps can turn into cancer if they are not watched and monitored properly. Typically colon cancer affects older adults, but it can happen to people of any age.
Colon cancer symptoms include rectal bleeding, bloody stool, abdominal pain and discomfort, and a change in your bowel movements. Some people also experience a feeling of fatigue and weight loss. While these are the most common symptoms of colon cancer some people may not experience any of these symptoms at the beginning stages of cancer.
It is crucial that if you feel any of these symptoms you seek help from a medical professional right away. Visiting your doctor and getting regular screenings can help reduce your risk of developing colon cancer. Here are some of the treatment options for patients who develop colon cancer:
1. Watch and wait
The watch and wait method of treatment for colon cancer is an effective treatment option for older patients or patients who may not be fit for surgery. This method includes three different components. It features radiation and chemotherapy for a few weeks followed by chemotherapy for another 4 months. The doctors then recommend waiting a few months to see what happens to the tumor. Oftentimes the tumor can disappear and if this is the case the person is watched very closely for years.
2. Colectomy surgery
Another treatment option for those who have colon cancer is colectomy surgery. This surgery involves removing all or part of your colon. The placement and size of your colon cancer can determine whether the doctors must do a total colectomy or a partial colectomy. Typically the later stages of colon cancer require more of the colon to be removed. Once you have a colectomy plan your doctor will discuss the risks of this surgery with you. There are always some risks associated with surgery, like bleeding. The doctors must remove the colon and then join the small intestine to your anus so that you can remove waste from your body. This surgery takes time to recover from but it can help reduce your risk of developing this cancer again. The chance to remove it completely outweighs the discomfort of surgery for many people.
Chemotherapy is often used to treat colon cancer. When there are microscopic cells that look suspicious doctors often recommend using chemotherapy to kill cancer cells throughout the body. This treatment method helps prevent the spreading of cancer cells and can treat cancer early before more aggressive treatment options must take place. The amount of chemotherapy sessions one must undergo depends on what the doctor sees during routine exams.