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The lower part of the digestive system is known as the large intestine (colon), and colon cancer is the name given to the type of cancer that affects it. The rectal cancer is the cancer that affects the last few inches of the colon. Collectively they are known as colorectal cancers. In most of the cases, small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps are formed in the intestine. They are not harmful on their own, but over a period, they enlarge to become colon cancers. Let us have a look at the early symptoms.
Polyps and the symptoms
Polyps are very small and do not display symptoms on their own. Doctors advise regular screening test to find polyps and destroy them before they can aggravate to colon cancer. In most of the cases, the symptoms start to appear only in the advanced levels. These include:
- Changes in the bowel movement: There can be severe diarrhea or constipation. There can also be changes in the consistency of the stool.
- Blood clots in the stool: There can be a persistent bleeding when passing out the stools. In some cases, there can be a general discomfort and pain while passing the stool.
- Severe abdominal discomforts: Abdominal cramps and gas can be a regular occurrence. They would not respond to any digestive medications.
- Weakness or fatigue: The body tends to get weak and fatigued easily. Even performing essential activities can be a daunting task.
- Unexplained weight loss: Even after a proper diet, the body tends to lose weight. Weight loss can be categorized as one of the advanced stages of the disease.
The symptoms vary drastically depending on the size of cancer and the location in the large intestine. It is advisable to consult an oncologist if the symptoms mentioned above persist and it is also mandatory to have regularized screening after the age of 50.
There are also certain important factors that have to be looked that may increase the risk of colon cancer. These include:
- Old age: It usually affects people more than the age of 50. Chances of it occurring in young people are very minimal.
- Inflammation of the intestine: Chronic inflammatory diseases of the intestine such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease can increase the risk of colon cancer.
- Genetics: Chances are that the genes could be passed on through the generation and family; thereby enhancing the likelihood of colorectal cancer.
- Diet: Fatty foods and foods that are low in fiber content can be one of the causes of colon cancer. People who are overweight and obese also increase their risk drastically.
- Smoking and alcohol: Smoking and drinking in excess levels increase the chances of getting colon cancer.
I have a node on the ryt side of my breast from last two years it is painless and not increasing or decreasing in size.
What are the signs or symptoms of the Breast Cancer? How a married woman can prevent it? Does it has any bearing with baby's breast feeding?
Once breast cancer operation done is there any chance to repeat cancer? Which test to be done in future?
Gastric (stomach) cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the lining of the stomach. By far, it is known to be the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths not only in Asia but also worldwide. Though it can affect both male and female populace, it is seen more commonly in men and in people aged 50 years or older.
Type: Gastric cancers can present as one of the following types -
- Adenocarcinoma: Begins in the glandular cells lining the inside of the stomach. This forms a majority of the stomach cancers.
- Lymphoma: Begins in immune system cells present in the walls of the stomach. Occurrence of lymphoma, in the stomach, is rare.
- Carcinoid Tumor: Begins in hormone producing cells of the stomach. Occurrence of carcinoid cancer, in the stomach, is rare.
- Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST): begins in nervous system cells of the stomach. Occurrence of GIST, in the stomach, is rare.
Gender: It affects both male and female populace.
Etiology: The factors that are associated with increased risk of gastric cancer include the following mostly –
- ‘Helicobacter Pylori’ bacterial infection in the stomach is a common cause of gastric cancer of both the intestinal (expanding) & diffuse (infiltrative) type. Furthermore, studies indicate that high salt intake is synergistic with H. Pylori infection in the manner that it is likely to increase the risk of gastric cancer that is induced by H. Pylori bacteria.
- Smoking, consuming alcohol, red meat, salty/ smoked/ processed foods, low intake of fruits and vegetables, diets rich in nitroso compounds, eating foods contaminated with aflatoxin fungus etc all.
- Atrophic gastritis characterized by chronic stomach inflammation is known to increase the risk multi-fold. Chronic gastric inflammation can lead to atrophy of the gastric mucosa, metaplasia, dysplasia and finally carcinoma.
- History of pernicious anaemia, gastric ulcers, adenomatous gastric polyp etc all.
- Family history of gastric cancer. Several familial syndromes that have been associated with a pre-disposition to gastric cancer include familial adenomatous polyposis, Lynch syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and e-cadherin mutation (diffuse type)
- Blood group A, Obesity etc all are known to be associated with diffuse or cardia gastric cancer.
- Low socioeconomic status - persistent lifestyle issues/ irregularities including high stress coupled with an improper diet/ dietary pattern.
- Epidemiological evidence is indicative of a risk or pre-disposition to gastric/ stomach cancer for people suffering from diabetes mellitus (DM).
- Very high dose ionizing radiation exposure is an uncommon risk for gastric cancer.
Features: There are often no early stage symptoms. Early stage symptoms, if any, are non-specific and are likely to be ignored, thus delaying the diagnosis most often. Hence, gastric/ stomach cancer is often detected at an advanced stage where the disease is either locally advanced or metastatic. The various presentations (of signs & symptoms), by stage (early or advanced), of gastric cancer are as enumerated below:
Early Stage – can present with one or more of the following non-specific symptoms/ signs -
- Dyspepsia (Indigestion),
- Stomach/ Epigastric discomfort,
- Bloated feeling after eating,
- Mild Nausea/ Vomiting,
- Blood in Vomit (Haematemesis),
- weight loss (Cachexia)
- Occult blood in stool/ Melaena,
- Advanced Stage – presents with one or more of the following symptoms/ signs -
- GI Bleeding with black tarry stools (Melaena),
- Persistent Nausea/ Vomiting,
- Blood in Vomit (Haematemesis),
- Early Satiety,
- Loss of Appetite (Anorexia),
- Weight loss (Cachexia),
- Persistent pain in the abdomen,
- Fluid build-up in the peritoneal cavity (Ascites),
- Edema of the lower extremities,
- Liver Enlargement (Hepatomegaly)/ Jaundice,
- Difficulty swallowing food (Dysphagia)
- Screening: Is generally recommended for asymptomatic populations in high incidence areas or as surveillance for high risk individuals. The goal of screening, as usual, is to be able to detect & diagnose gastric cancer at an early stage which is potentially curable. It is mostly endoscopic/ radiologic.
Diagnosis: Following are the diagnostics employed in gastic cancer -
- Physical Examination: May be remarkable for palpable abdominal mass, weight loss (cachexia), abdominal distension, ascites, hepatomegaly, lower extremities edema and lymphadenopathy for gastric cancers in the advanced stage. For early gastric cancers, however, physical examination is largely uninformative.
- Blood: Hb- may be low, ESR – raised, tumor markers CEA & CA-19-9 could be raised sometimes in adenocarcinoma but are not frequently elevated. Abnormal blood test results may be indicative of malignancy, but a follow-up gastroscopy/ biopsy is always the gold standard for accurate diagnosis.
- Stool: Occult blood may be +ve
- Barium Meal X-Ray: Could show a filling defect at the site of the carcinoma/ cancer growth.
- Gastroscopy/ Biopsy: Clinches the diagnosis.
- Endoscopic Ultrasound: Maximizes tumor staging as it helps determine the depth of invasion of the tumor.
- CT Scan: Of chest, abdomen & pelvis helps detect metastatic disease, if any, and also helps stage the disease (TNM) appropriately.
- Bone Scan: Helps detect osseous metastasis (bone mets), if any.
- Treatment: Conventional treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy as contextually appropriate. Surgery (i.e. gastrectomy either sub-total or total), with an adjuvant chemotherapy and/ or radiotherapy as contextually relevant, is the only treatment that is known to cure the disease in light of the prognostic indicators as briefly enumerated in the section below. Chemptherapy and/ or radiation alone cannot be curative. Mostly, it can improve symptoms, and may prolong survival. Simultaneously, an adjunctive or integrative naturopathic treatment with suitable complementary & alternative medicines (CAM) too can help improve clinical outcomes and facilitate recovery as feasible contextually.
Prognosis: For gastric cancer is variable. Preventive measures, earlier diagnosis and right early treatment is key for an effective therapeutic management & better prognosis. Like most other cancers, the chances of cure for an early stage gastric cancer are more. The cure/ recovery chances are influenced by the grade, stage of cancer, recurrence and the patient’s general health & vitality etc all. Distal tumors are known to be cured more often than the proximal ones. Again, intestinal-type gastric cancers are known to have a better treatment outlook in comparison to the diffuse-type gastric cancers.
Prevention: Rightly said, prevention is always a better choice. Although genetic risks are difficult to modify, still an adherence to a relative Mediterranean diet, maintaining an ideal body weight and an active lifestyle with due emphasis on regular exercising, de-stressing and relaxation is highly recommended for reducing the risks of many cancers including gastric cancer. A healthy eating plate comprises essentially a low fat diet, fibre rich foods including whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables cooked using healthy vegetable oils, fresh fruits of all colours as seasonally available and healthy proteins/ fats including fresh fish, poultry, beans, nuts etc all. The consumption of alcohol, if any, has to be strictly in moderation, and is best avoided in a high risk scenario. Smoking is to be avoided too. Again, red meat, butter, refined grains, sweets, sugary drinks including carbonated beverages and other high calorie foods etc all, if any, are to be taken sparingly. Not only it is important to eat healthy, but also it is equally important to eat properly. Insufficient chewing, eating until full, eating meals within a short time etc all are best avoided so as to ease off digestive burden on the stomach/ other organs in the GI tract. Last but not the least, consumption of clean and filtered water, natural probiotics like freshly prepared yogurt/ butter milk, maintenance of cleanliness & hygiene including oral hygiene etc. all can help guard against H. Pylori infections. Breastfeeding is known to be protective against H. Pylori infections too.
My mother is 58 year old. She detected breast cancer in 2011 and we treated completely with chemo therapy and surgery. Now she is fine but she is not taking any medicine regarding cancer .In June 2016 completely tested regarding cancer and everything was fine. I want to know how much time again test her and should she take any medicine for preventing from regenerate of cancer.
What is the best treatment for sarcoma Pnet do you have any good alternative treatment please suggest.
Hello I am 21 years girl and I had once pain in breast an since last 2 days its hard around nipples what should I do an is it a symptom of breast cancer?
I have fibroadenoma stage 2 right breast. My age is 24. I always feel some difference in my right breast. Is there something to worry? Will it change to a cancer?
I am suffering from hodgkin lymphoma and going through chemotherapy. Please give me some guidelines.
Bone cancer is a cancerous tumour in the bone, destroying the normal bone tissues. Tumours on bone tissues are not always cancerous or malignant, they are mostly benign. Primary bone cancer is when the malignant tumour begins to form in the tissues of the bones, but when these cancerous cells spread to other body parts like breasts, prostate or lungs, it is called metastatic cancer. Primary bone cancer is less common than metastatic cancer.
Bone cancer can be of three different types:
Osteosarcoma: In this case, the malignant tumour arises from the osteoid bone tissue. This occurs mainly in the upper arm and knee areas.
Chondrosarcoma: In this case the cancerous cells form in the cartilaginous tissues, causing a lot of pain. This occurs mostly in the pelvic area.
The Ewing sarcoma generally arises in the bone but it can also form in the soft tissues. Other kinds of soft tissues affecting cancerous cells are known as soft tissue sarcomas.
There aren’t many clear defined causes; however, several factors have been identified by researchers.
Osteosarcoma is seen to occur more frequently in people who have been through a high external radiation therapy dose.
In people who have frequently been treated with anticancer medications, children tend to be most affected.
Heredity may be an adding cause, although the percentage of hereditary transfer of cancer cells is very low.
People with hereditary bone defects or implants have a higher chance of acquiring bone cancer.
The most common and saddening symptom of bone cancer is painful, although not all bone cancers cause pain. Unusual or persistent swelling or pain around a bone maybe a red flag for bone cancer. In case of a situation like this, immediate doctor’s opinion is required.
Usually, diagnosis of a bone cancer can be made using X-rays; for example, a bone scan, a computed tomography scan, a magnetic imaging procedure—positron emission tomography, and an angiogram. Biopsy and blood tests are also helpful in bone cancer diagnosis.
The size, location and stage of cancer, age, and health of the person decide the kind of treatment that should be given to the patient. Various treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and cryosurgery.
The combined survival rate of all sorts of bone cancers is 70%. This percentage may vary with the type of bone cancer and also its stage.