Colon & Colorectal Cancer
Colon is the name for the Large Intestine which is the last part of the digestive system and has the twin functions of extracting sugar and water from the food before the waste material is excreted through the rectum. Colon Cancer is mostly found in older people and starts in the form of polyps in the large intestine or the rectum which over a period of time convert into cancers. Early detection of colon cancer is very important and annual colonoscopy test is a very useful tool to detect the polyps and start the treatment before they become colon cancer.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Look for the following symptoms that may be a warning sign for colorectal cancer:
- A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
A colonoscopy along with blood tests and MRCP would be the primary diagnostic investigations that may be used to diagnose colorectal cancer.
Polypectomy – If your cancer is small, localized, completely contained within a polyp and in a very early stage, your doctor may be able to remove it completely during a colonoscopy.
Endoscopic mucosal resection – Larger polyps might be removed during colonoscopy using special tools to remove the polyp and a small amount of the inner lining of the colon in a procedure called an endoscopic mucosal resection.
Partial colectomy – During this procedure, the surgeon removes the part of your colon that contains the cancer, along with a margin of normal tissue on either side of the cancer. Your surgeon is often able to reconnect the healthy portions of your colon or rectum. This procedure can commonly be done Laparoscopically.
Colostomy Surgery – is done when the cancer is spread in the entire colon and there is no way to reconnect the colon after removing the cancerous part. In such cases an opening is made through the abdominal wall to which a bag is attached to collect the stool passed by the body.
About 96% of colorectal cancers that are treated in India are adenocarcinomas. These cancers start in cells that make mucus to lubricate the inside of the colon and rectum.