All About Colon Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis or Screening for colon Cancer

For healthy individuals with no symptoms, doctors recommend screening tests to check for colon cancer. The best chance of a cure is to catch colon cancer early. Colon cancer mortality rates can be reduced by screening.

Most doctors recommend that anyone with a high risk of developing colon cancer should start screening at age 50. However, people at higher risk such as those who have a history of colon cancer in the family or are African-American should be screened sooner.

There are many screening options available, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Discuss your options with your doctor and you will be able to decide which tests are right for you. A colonoscopy can be used to screen for cancer. Polyps can also be removed during this procedure.

Diagnosing colon cancer

Your doctor might recommend tests or procedures if you suspect that you may have colon cancer.

Colonoscopy is a procedure that examines the inside of your colon using a scope. Colonoscopy involves a flexible, long and thin tube that is attached to a monitor and video camera to view your entire colon. Your doctor may use the tube to pass instruments through and take tissue samples (biopsies), in order to identify suspicious areas.

Tests by blood. A blood test cannot tell you if your colon cancer is present. Your doctor might test your blood to determine if you have colon cancer.

Your doctor might also check your blood for carcinoembryonic acid (or CEA), which is a chemical that can be produced by colon cancers. Your doctor may monitor your blood for CEA over time to help you understand your prognosis. It could also help determine if your cancer is responding well to treatment.

Assessing the extent of cancer

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Your doctor may recommend testing to determine the stage of colon cancer. The staging helps you decide which treatment is best for you.

Imaging procedures like chest CT scans, abdominal CT scans, and pelvic CT scans may be used in staging tests. The stage of your cancer might not be determined in all cases until you have had colon cancer surgery.

Roman numerals indicate the stages of colon cancer. They range from 0 through IV. The lowest stage indicates that the cancer is only limited to the lining of your colon. Stage IV is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Treatment of colon cancer

The best treatment for you will depend on your specific situation. This includes the stage of your cancer and other health issues. Colon cancer treatment Singapore usually involves surgery to remove it. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy might also be options.

Early-stage colon cancer surgery

Your doctor might recommend minimally invasive surgery if your colon cancer is small.

A colonoscopy can be used to remove polyps (polypectomy). Your doctor might be able to completely remove your cancer if it is very small, localized and contained within a single polyp.

Endoscopic mucosal removal. Endoscopic mucosal removal is a procedure that removes larger polyps. This involves using special tools to remove the entire colon and some of the inner lining.

Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive surgery. Laparoscopic surgery can be used to remove polyps that are not possible during a colonoscopy. Your surgeon will make several small incisions along your abdomen wall to perform the surgery. He or she will attach cameras to monitor your colon. The surgeon might also collect samples from the lymph nodes around the area of the cancer.

For advanced colon cancer, surgery is an option

Your surgeon might recommend this if the cancer has spread to or through your colon.

  • Partial colectomy. The Singapore colon surgeon will remove the affected area of your colon along with the normal tissue margin. The surgeon may be able to connect healthy parts of your colon, or rectum. This can often be accomplished using a minimally invasive technique (laparoscopy).
  • Surgery is performed to allow waste to be removed from your body. An ostomy is a procedure that allows you to connect the healthy parts of your colon, or rectum. This is a procedure that allows you to remove a portion of your bowel from your abdomen and place a bag over it.
  • Sometimes, the ostomy will only be temporary and allow your colon or rectum to heal. Sometimes, however, the colostomy can be permanent.
  • Removal of lymph nodes. Colon cancer surgery may also involve the removal of nearby lymph nodes and testing for cancer.

Advanced colon cancer surgery

Your surgeon may recommend surgery to remove a blockage in your colon, or to treat other conditions. This surgery is not intended to treat cancer but to alleviate symptoms such as pain, bleeding, or blockage.

If the cancer has not spread to the liver or lung, but you are otherwise healthy, your doctor might recommend surgery or other localized treatments. This type of treatment may include chemotherapy. This method offers a long-term chance of avoiding cancer.

·         Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. If the colon cancer has spread to lymph nodes or is more advanced, chemotherapy is often given following surgery. This allows chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells and reduce the chance of it recurring.

A large-scale operation might include chemotherapy to shrink the cancer. This makes it easier to remove.

The treatment of colon cancer symptoms that are not treatable by surgery or have spread to other parts of the body can be treated with chemotherapy. Sometimes, it is combined with radiation therapy.

A shorter course of chemotherapy may be possible for some patients with stage III low-risk colon cancer. This may have fewer side effects than traditional chmotherapy and be as effective.

·         Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a powerful treatment that kills cancer cells using powerful energy sources such as Xrays and protons. Radiation therapy can be used to shrink large cancers before they are removed.

Radiation therapy can be used to alleviate pain and symptoms when surgery is not an option. Sometimes, radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy.

·         Drug therapy with targeted drug targets

Targeted drug therapies target specific abnormalities in cancer cells. Targeted drug treatments can kill cancer cells by blocking these abnormalities.

Combining chemotherapy with targeted drugs is a common practice. People with advanced colon cancer are usually advised to avoid targeted drugs.

·         Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy uses your immune system against cancer. Your body’s immune system, which is designed to fight disease, may not attack cancer. Cancer cells make proteins that prevent the immune system from recognizing them. Immunotherapy interferes with this process.

Advanced colon cancer patients are usually candidates for immunotherapy. To determine if your cancer cells are likely to respond, your doctor may test them.

·         Palliative (supportive) care

Palliative care, a specialized medical service that provides pain relief and other symptoms associated with serious illnesses, is considered specialized medical care. Palliative care can be provided by a team made up of nurses, doctors and other professionals who work together with you and your family to provide additional support.

Palliative care teams are designed to improve the quality and life of people living with cancer, as well as their families. This type of care can be offered in conjunction with curative or other treatment you may be currently receiving.

People with cancer will feel better and may live longer if palliative care can be used in conjunction with other treatments.