Among all types of cancer, colon cancer is the third most frequent in the United States. In another category, it’s the second deadliest. During a one-year span, it claims more than 50,000 lives. When you get diagnosed with cancer, there’s no reason to feel good. One piece of good news that comes with colon cancer is that it can be treated with encouraging success rates. In most cases, patients get a prognosis of full recovery.
What Is Colon Cancer?
As you probably know, the colon is a part of the large intestine. There are many types of colon cancer, but almost all of them (close to 95%) are considered to be an example of adenocarcinomas. The development of this sort of cancer starts as a polyp, and then gradually grows inside of our colon. At first, it is not cancerous, but if left untreated it can quickly become cancerous.
Cancer usually appears when a healthy cell suffers a DNA error. As a consequence of this, our cells start to divide in an unusual way. Our cells start growing without control, destroying the healthy tissue that surrounds it and rapidly spreading across our body in the process.
When it comes to colon cancer, we can’t be sure what exactly causes DNA errors. The thing that we know is that it knows no gender, because it affects both men and women equally. It usually appears in people older than 50. The people who are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer are those who already had polyps, any type of intestinal conditions, history of the disease in the family, or if you are cigarette smoker or alcohol abuser, are obese, have diabetes, or consume a diet rich in fat and low in fiber.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Some of the signs that you might have during the development of colon cancer include undesired weight loss, fatigue or weakness, abdominal pain or cramping, blood in the stool, rectal bleeding, change in bowel behavior that lasts more than one week, and feeling that your bowel isn’t moving like it used to.
If you have any of these symptoms, you shouldn’t be alarmed about cancer before consulting a doctor. Some of the other common conditions with these symptoms include hemorrhoids, infection, and a number of different bowel diseases. Having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have developed cancer, but you should visit a doctor, nonetheless. Unfortunately, you will feel the full extent of these signs only after you have fully developed colon cancer.
Life Expectancy for Colon Cancer
Like we mentioned, colon cancer can be treated. If discovered in time it can be easily handled. To be precise, a 5-year survival rate for this type of cancer is 90%. Of course, life expectancy drops as more time passes before you get diagnosed with it. It’s never a good sign if cancer grows out of proportion.
There are various treatments for colon cancer, but it all depends on how far it has advanced. If cancer hasn’t advanced further than a polyp, it can be taken care of with an endoscopic removal, which is a non-surgical procedure. In other cases, it can be removed by surgery. This surgery is conducted by removing a small part of the colon. If it has already spread across your body, the operation gets more complicated, as more of your insides need to be removed. In some cases, even chemotherapy is necessary after the procedure to finish the job.
All in all, while getting diagnosed with colon cancer isn’t something to look forward to, it might help you to know that it can be treated more comfortably than most cancers.
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