Colon cancer

What is Colon cancer?


Colorectal cancer (also known as colon cancer, rectal cancer or bowel cancer) is the development of cancer in the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine). It is due to the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Signs and symptoms may include blood in the stool, a change in bowel movements, weight loss, and feeling tired all the time.

Risk factors for colorectal cancer include lifestyle, older age, and inherited genetic disorders. Genetic disorders only occur in a small fraction of the population. A diet high in red, processed meat, while low in fiber increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Other diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, can increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Some of the inherited genetic disorders that can cause colorectal cancer include familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer; however, these represent less than 5% of cases. It typically starts as a benign tumor, often in the form of a polyp, which over time becomes cancerous.

Bowel cancer may be diagnosed by obtaining a sample of the colon during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. This is then followed by medical imaging to determine if the disease has spread. Screening is effective for preventing and decreasing deaths from colorectal cancer. Screening is recommended starting from the age of 50 to 75. Their general use is not recommended for this purpose, however, due to side effects.

Treatments used for colorectal cancer may include some combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Cancers that are confined within the wall of the colon may be curable with surgery while cancer that has spread widely are usually not curable, with management focusing on improving quality of life and symptoms. Five year survival rates in the United States are around 65%. Globally, colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer making up about 10% of all cases. It is more common in developed countries, where more than 65% of cases are found. It is less common in women than men.

Questions and answers on "Colon cancer"

Can a colonoscopy actually increase a persons chances of developing colon cancer? I had a colonoscopy 10 years ago at the age of 58. I had a small polyp that was cut out during the prcedure. There was no evidence of cancer. I am one of nine siblings and one of the youngest. Some of my older siblings are nearing 80, all are in good health. No history of colon cancer in the family tree. Right now I am having strong symptoms of colon cancer.

doctor1 MD

Hi and welcome to HCM. Thanks for the query.
And what are strong sympotoms of colon cancer? colon cancer symptoms are very nonspecific and it is impossible to know if you have cancer or not without diagnostic tests. All these nonspecific symptoms can indicate any other bowel disorder such as...

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yes doctor,my cousin bro is suffering from colon cancer now he is at 4th stage .and a bag is also attached to his colon.but now he is getting createnine excess in urine.he is not getting well since one n half year.at this stage what should be his survival period.

doctor1 MD

Hi and welcome to HCM. Thanks for the query.
it is hard to predict the right survival period but prognosis is poor. Creatinine isnt important in this case. it is important his general health and lung and liver condition. Statistically prognosis is several months if tumor is nonoperable but chemo...

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hi: I need to have a colonoscopy to evaluate probable colon cancer but I m unable to find anyone to do an unsedated exam (allergic to the drugs)......had a virtual but need a regular colonoscopy (polyps,masses etc). most of the world does these without drugs; any suggestions ?

doctor1 MD

Hi,
Thanks for writing in.

Please discuss with your doctor for alternative pain relief solutions and it might be possible to get through the colonoscopy without the requirement of allergy causing medicines. It is possible that you might be able to tolerate certain medicines and a test dose might...

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I am worried about colon cancer and have no blood in stool or black stool unless I take pepto bismol and I am due for tests soon but I wake every morning with serious upset stomach if I have stool sitting at bottom of colon above my rectum and I have pencil thin stool,

doctor1 MD

hi.

how old are you? and do you have risk factors of colon cancer?

if you want to make sure, you could consult with a gastroenterologist, ask for FOBT testing and screening colonoscopy.

hope this helps.

good day!!

~dr.kaye

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My dad had colon cancer several years ago and it has matasazied to the liver. talking Erbutix now for a little over a year and has been doing well, cat scans good...but today as he was having his treatment he started having chills...this has never happened....just wondering what this could be, and why, etc?

doctor1 MD

Hi

Chills are caused by the medicine erbitux.

I would advise tablet avil 25 mg once daily for 3 days.


Regards

DR DE

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My mother 90 years old is diagnosed with colon cancer stage 4 1 month ago? Are there drugs to prolong her life? She is lack of sodium and potassium. Are there are tablets she can take to supplement sodium and potassium. She has internal bleeding due to colon cancer. Other than blood transfusion, any other method to stop her internal bleeding?

doctor1 MD

Hi, dear
I have gone through your question. I can understand your concern.
She has colon cancer stage 4. It is last stage and surgery is not possible. Treatment of choice is chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Despite of treatment prognosis remains poor. And lifw expectancy is very low. We can not...

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My mum had colon cancer 3 years ago and had surgery and chemo coz s has metastatic cancer.. Spread to the liver and after 7 month break from chemo.. Cancer spread all ove the liver and lungs.. She took chemo to shrink the cancer but after the second session she got high liver enzymes and fatigue!!! So what is the right decision now?

doctor1 MD

Hello,
Very sorry to learn that your mother is suffering from advanced stage of colon cancer.When colon cancer reaches  distant body parts, such as the ovaries, liver and lungs, it is in stage IV.

The prognosis for patients who suffer from colon cancer that has metastasized to the lungs is not...

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hi: I need to have a colonoscopy to evaluate probable colon cancer but I m unable to find anyone to do an unsedated exam ( allergic to the drugs)......had a virtual but need a regular colonoscopy (polyps,masses etc). most of the world does these without drugs; any suggestions ?

doctor1 MD

Hello and welcome to Healthcare magic.!
It is advisable to get a regular colonoscopy done by an experienced doctor, but any indications for getting a colonoscopy done? Were you referred by another doctor or any other complaints that prompted you to go for a colonoscopy?
Regards and best wishes....

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My wife had colon cancer ten years ago. Had the operation and seemed fine until she could not go to the bathroom. Here it is ten years later and using almost every thing to have a ball movement. She gets these extremely small bits of ball movement and never a full movement. Any help here. She is 75 years old and otherwise in very good health.

doctor1 MD

Hello
Thanks for the query.
You can ask her to take lot of green leafy vegetables and fibrous fruits.
there help in increasing bowel movement.
Isabgul is also a good option
Rahul
Let me know if you have any doubts.
thank you

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I have most all of the symptoms I have found listed for colon cancer. Except weight loss. I have already had three colonoscopies (or however you spell it) and two tests had palups but were not cancerous. The last test I was clean and could go for 5 years before being rechecked. I am three years over that. My question is if I don't have weight loss is there a good chance that I am worried for no reason. Also my stools are frequently black and tar like but not all the time.

doctor1 MD

Hello dear

Warm welcome to Healthcaremagic.com
I have evaluated your query in details .

* When there is no weight loss , chances of colon cancer are very less , but
one can not deny its presence by this point .
* The cause of black tarry stool must be evaluated for better management

Hope this...

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Recent questions on  Colon cancer

doctor1 MD

I have been having some type of attacks that we stiff haven't got to the bottom of, I have been diagnosed with ulcer because the zantac helped me lol, then a couple of days later I was taken to the er with the same type of pain which I was diagnosed with biliary colic even though the ultrasound and xray didn't show anything, Then I was diagnosed the third at the er with having a panic attack and that I know wasn't it because I have had panic attacks since I've been around 14 yrs. old. Then I was diagnosed by my family dr. for constipation. lol. These attacks sometimes can be brutal. The pain starts in my back between my shoulder blades, and sometimes it only hurts on the left side and sometimes radiates to right to left but the pain is horrific and painful. These attacks usually cause me to sweat, I feel like I'm having a heart attack because of the pain in my chest, it causes me to burp a lot trying to help stop the pain, I shake because I think its where I'm hurting so bad, and sometimes get the chills, they usually only last about an hour the longest one I had lasted 3 hours. I recently just had another mild attack which wasn't real bad, but every since then I have like stomach acid that feels like it continually flows, I am on Prilosec 20 mg of the morning and zantac 150 mg. at night and have been since this started about 3 months ago. If the dr. presses on the right side of my stomach it hurts, it's like a burning type of tenderness pain that hurts really bad. They have done a hida scan and in the first hour they gave me radio active stuff for my gall bladder to appear but within that hour it did not show, so I had to wait another 30 minutes and finally it showed. Then the second part of the hida scan they gave me ensure to drink to watch how it functions, My family dr. said it was normal. I'm at my whitts end. I don't know what's wrong with me. My belly stays bloated out most of the time, I'm ashamed of when the pain hits because I don't want my kids to see me like this. I'm worried it's my colon since my dad had colon cancer and I have had blood in my stool real heavy for 3 days, went to my family doctor and they took a sample and tested it and said that was normal and since it was bright red it's really nothing to worry about. I just want to find out whats wrong with me. These drs. I think are starting think I'm some type of hypercondriac lol.. any advise would be helpful. Also sometimes that can set these attacks off is like eating something spicy, The other day I drank orange juice and ate a barbeque tv dinner and then had that attack, sometimes if me and my husband get into an argument sometimes that sets it off, or if I have a bowel movement it sometimes sets it off and the last round of antibiotics caused me to hurt. So I don't know what to do.

doctor1 MD

I am a 40-year-old, 159 pound, white female. I only smoked when I was a teenager occasionally and as a an adult, I would only smoke when I drank (which now I do not smoke at all). I drink occasionally on the weekends but not much. My father had a history of heart disease, emphysema and diabetes. He had his first heart attack in his mid-30s and had a triple bypass in 1983. At age 72, he passed away due to a massive heart attack he suffered as a result of the stress of having surgery to remove colon cancer. Over the past year or so I have been experiencing chest pains almost every day either at rest or after some activity. Sometimes when I am leaning over, I can get the pain in the center of my chest which can feel almost like muscle pain. Sometimes I experience the chest pains with a feeling of shortness of breath yet when I take a deep inhalation, it seems as though my breathing can be restored to normal. Sometimes with the chest pains I also experience some upper back pain across my shoulders. My neck, jaw and arms never really hurt or go numb. Oftentimes, I can feel my heart racing or feeling as though it is going to pound out of my chest. I have had numerous EKGs done all of which have come back normal. I went to the ER in February of 2009 and was admitted due to chest pains. Upon arrival at the ER, I had bloodwork done including my cardiac enzymes tested (which were all normal), an EKG done which was normal, BP (usually maintains at 112/80), pulse and heart rate were all normal. They kept me overnight so I could have a stress done. I completed that the next morning. The stress test I had was where they took pictures of my blood flow while at rest, then they shot me with some dye, then I ran on the treadmill and then more pictures were taken after that. The results were that I had a heart of a 28 year old, and I was in the top 90% of women my age. Then that afternoon, I had an endoscopy done to rule/out any gastro problems. That, too, was normal. I was seen by a cardiologist while an inpatient and he told me that everything was normal and it is very unusual of a woman my age, even with a family history, to have heart problems. It definitely was not a heart attack nor did he feel it was heart-related. Then I had an abdominal ultrasound completed outpatient which was normal as well as which was normal. I also wore a heart monitor for 30 days which allowed me to record all of my episodes. Upon review of that monitor, they told me I had sinus arrhythmia and tachycardia but there was nothing for me to do about it because it was nothing to worry about. My cholesterol is 195 and I can t remember my exact LDL or HDL but I believe the good cholesterol level was 5 points lower than it should be and the bad was good. My triglycerides were over 300 but at my last blood check they came down to a bit below 200. I am still working on lowering those. I know I do not always eat right nor do I exercise very often. I have cut back on fatty, greasy foods and am losing weight little by little. I continue to have these pains either at rest or after exerting myself. Sometimes I take Prilosec and the pain goes away. I mentally make the pain and heart pounding worse because I start to think there is something wrong with me that my PCP and the tests missed. (My PCP is my cousin who is very familiar with my family history and I truly believe he is doing everything possible to find an answer. Yet he keeps telling me that he is 99.9% sure it is NOT my heart. The only other thing he could do is a catheterization. He doesn t want to do it because there is a 1% risk that something could actually go wrong and cause me a real problem. He did say if I had the catheterization, it would completely give me a 100% answer. I actually gave myself such bad anxiety this past weekend that I actually started believing that I am dying or will die soon. These episodes and symptoms are driving me crazy! I want to hope that it is all just stress or something else. I ve been crazily reading things where they say sometimes people can sense doom or feel anxiety right before something bad like a heart attack or death happens. Please! Any help or answer you could give me to lead me in the right direction to solving my problem would be GREATLY appreciated. Janel M.

doctor1 MD

Having 1-2 years if diarhea and nausea, family hx of colon cancer, my recent colonoscopy showed areas of black and white patches. They are similar to the bugs and larvae that our duct work for heating and air conditioning have been spewing out when turned on. Have you ever heard of this?

doctor1 MD

hi, i have been told that i am anaemic, my levels are at 6 when apparently they are supposed to be 12, my period is not heavy, just normal, i am not pregnant. My doctor is organising an endoscopy for me then a colonoscopy afterwards. I am also experiencing bloating just under my ribs, my appetite is okay, i am actually on a diet now (a healthy one!) i have been concerned about the possibility of stomach or colon cancer. What could this be? and this is probably completely unrelated but i have also got a really big spot on the inside of my thigh, it was white with a large red circle around it, the top has come off now, yet the red circle is still there and sometimes has another colour in it then it resembles a bruise, can it be related or just a weird spot? Thank you.

doctor1 MD

Query for gastroenterologist in particular; i had a first-screening colonoscopy 10 years ago - MD suggested another colonoscopy 10 years followup (presently). There is no history of cancer in my family, excepting a cousin with 4th stg lung cancer...

doctor1 MD

I am a 77 year old female basically in excellent health, and physically very active. For the last two or three weeks I have been having intermittent groin pain on both sides, sometimes radiating down to the knee, and almost chronic constipation...

doctor1 MD

My sister was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer with liver mets. She now has about 12 tumors on her liver and 3 on the two lymph nodes from her liver to her bowels. She is now having side pains and pains under her rib cage and now shoulder pain...

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