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Last Updated: May 16, 2020
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Colon Cancer: Stages, Treatment, Symptoms, Prevention and Survival Rate

About Types Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Stages Treatment Side effects Post-treatment guidelines Recovery Cost Survival rates Alternatives

What is colon cancer?

Colon cancer better known in the name of colorectal or bowel cancer that signifies the growth of cancer cells in parts like colon, rectum or appendix. This cancer is widely common in both male and female resulting in more about 655,000 death in a year.

Generally, people above 40 are vulnerable to colon cancer. Strangely, around 70 to 80 per cent of the colon cancer has its growth without involving any major risk factor. The disease is indeed dreadful and murderous with least chances of survival if diagnosed at the last stage.

Types of colon cancer

Colon cancer can be divided into various types. The most common variation of colon cancer that originates from the glands is Adenocarcinomas that results in 90 to 95 percent of the total colon cancer patients over the world.

  • Leiomyosarcomas: It is a type of colon cancer that initiates in the muscles of the colon. This is rare and comprises of 2or 3 percent of the total colon cancer.
  • Lymphomas: These are sort of colon cancer that is diagnosed to initiate in the rectum and not in the colon. This is said to have evolved in a different part of the body and got spread to the colon.
  • Melanomas: These are nearly similar to Lymphomas as it occupies the same characteristics of getting started at a different area or organ in the body and end up spreading to the colon.
  • Neuroendocrine tumours: These are colon cancers that include two different types namely aggressive and indolent.

What are the symptoms of colon cancer?

Symptoms of colon cancer are numerous. However, you may experience:

What causes colon cancer?

To figure out the cause of colon cancer, the age of a person is the primary concern. More the age, more increases the risk of being affected by colon cancer. Another burning cause of colon cancer is when the mother or father in the family has suffered from colon cancer, the chances for other members of the family increase to a higher level. Even diet very high in fat and less consumption of fibre might result in colon cancer.

How is colon cancer diagnosed?

The doctor will primarily perform a clinical evaluation on the details provided on the medical history of the patient and physical examination that would include a digital rectal test. Further, the doctor will ask the patient to undergo several tests like sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. Even the doctor may ask you to get some blood test done in order to a detailed picture of the condition of kidney and the liver.

What are the stages of colon cancer?

When the doctor is sure that the patient has cancerous growth, the next step is to evaluate the stage of colon cancer on of the patient. There are four stages of colon cancer.

  • Stage I: The 1st stage indicates the growth of cancer in the superficial lining of the colon but has not crossed the colon or the rectum walls.
  • Stage II: Stage II signifies that cancer has been successful in passing through the colon walls but did not spread to the lymph nodes situated nearby.
  • Stage III: Stage III situation is when cancer has emerged through the lymph nodes and is quickly spreading throughout the body.
  • Stage IV: Stage IV or the last stage of colon cancer is when cancer has spread and affected other organs like lungs and the liver.

How is colon cancer treated?

Consulting a colon or rectal surgeon for treatment is the best. For patients who get diagnosed at the first stage of cancer, the doctor generally conducts minimal surgery that results in complete recovery. Polyps can be removed during the process of colonoscopy while endoscopic mucosal resection and laparoscopic surgery are also conducted according to the condition of the patient. On the other hand, if cancer has spread through the colon, treatment process conducted is called partial colectomy.

In this process, the doctor eliminates the part having cancer from the colon. Even removal or lymph nodes is one of the treatment procedure adopted by the doctor.

For patients experiencing the last stage of colon cancer, surgeries are often conducted by the doctor in order to relieve symptoms like bleeding and pain. However, thereafter chemotherapy and radiation therapy are provided to the patient to kill the cancer cells.

Are there any side effects of colon cancer treatment?

On being diagnosed at the primary stage, colon cancer is treated with minimal surgery. In such cases, side effects are limited to drug related effects post the surgery.

However, in case of patients who undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy, side effects are huge. Side effects of chemotherapy include severe mouth sores, sudden hair loss, drastic fall of appetite, diarrhoea, fatigue and increase in vulnerability to infection and experiencing easy bleeding and bruising.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Treatment for the different stage of colon cancer varies in accordance with the severity of the condition. But some of the factors remain indifferent for patients on completion of their treatment procedure. A low diet is to be maintained for at least 6 weeks post the treatment.

You should take small meals many times a day rather than having 3 major meals. Fluid intake should be more, have 3 to 4 litres of water in a day. Strictly avoid caffeine. A routine diet and disciplined life habits should be a mandatory factor to look after.

How long does it take to recover?

Recovery is entirely dependent on the stage of colon cancer a person is suffering from. For patients with a small touch of cancer, it gets cured with the execution of a minimal surgery. However, on the other hand, the last stage of colon cancer demands chemotherapy or radiation therapy and thus takes a huge amount of time to recover.

Research speaks around 50% of the patient experiencing the last stage of colon cancer gets cured. Previously, people would survive for around 8 to 10 weeks while now advanced medical research and innovation enables a person to live up to 30 weeks and about 10% of the total patient at last stage have chances for complete recovery.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The cost of the treatment of colon cancer varies according to the patient’s condition and the stage of cancer they are experiencing. For surgery in case of patients with stage I colon cancer, cost of treatment is hugely less than patients at the last stage of colon cancer. Thus the range starts from 2.5 lakhs to 20 lakhs that includes several sessions of chemotherapies and radiation therapies.

What are colon cancer survival rates?

For patients diagnosed with the first stage of colon cancer, complete recovery can be achieved. The constant growth in medical science has undoubtedly enhanced the survival rate of people with colon cancer.

Previously, a person at the last stage of colon cancer could survive up to 7 to 8 weeks whereas, nowadays a person can live up to 30 weeks with treatment. On the other hand, proper medical treatment results in survival rates up to 50% for patients with colon cancer.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Besides medical treatment for colon cancer, natural products even result in producing amazing treatment fighting against the growth of colon cancer. National Cancer Institute releases a Factsheet on the utility of garlic in preventing colon cancer.

Thus, more consumption of garlic acts as an antidote to colon cancer. Intake of red meat should be avoided. Use of olive oil and foods rich in selenium are more preferable during this time. Last but not the least, plenty of antioxidant in green vegetables, fruits, herbs and diet are of huge help.

Popular Questions & Answers

Sir madam yesterday I have done colonoscopy procedure. Aur cea b kiya 2.68 aya caecum single polypoidal mass occluding whole of the circumference. Overlying mucosa is erythematous and edematous. Surrounding mucosa is norma. Impression: polypoidal cecal mass-? Nature biopsy done. It means cancer.

MBBS, MS - Oncology, MCh-Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, MCh - Surgical Gastroenterology/G.I. Surgery, MCh (Gyneco-oncological oncology), FRCS - Thoracic Surgery
Oncologist, Mangalore
Biopsy suggestive of cancer, but we need to know what type of cancer it is. As treatment depends on type of cancer in caecum. Need to do cect abdomen and thorax/pet ct depending on feasibility and affordability for staging purpose (pet ct is not m...
1 person found this helpful

Hello sir stage 3 colon cancer is curable or not. Six chemotherapy have been completed. I think the patient is a little better than before. Sir I just want to know stage 3 colon cancer is curable or not? Plez sir help me. Because I'm very worried.

MBBS, M.S. General Surgery, M.R.C.S. England, M.Ch. Surgical Oncology, DNB Surgical Oncology, FEBS Surgical Oncology, DNB General Surgery, MNAMS, FMAS, FIAGES, FAIS, FICS, FEBS Breast Surgery, FACS, Fellowship IFHNOS & MSKCC USA, Fellowship in breast and oncplastic Surgery
Oncologist, Mumbai
Yes. If proper treatment has been given. I would be able to opine better if you send me the detailed reports Feel free to contact me directly if you want to discuss this further.
1 person found this helpful

My mother has cancer 4th stage, she has colon tumor cancer spread liver and whole belly, if any alternative medicine please suggest me?

MBBS, M.S. General Surgery, M.R.C.S. England, M.Ch. Surgical Oncology, DNB Surgical Oncology, FEBS Surgical Oncology, DNB General Surgery, MNAMS, FMAS, FIAGES, FAIS, FICS, FEBS Breast Surgery, FACS, Fellowship IFHNOS & MSKCC USA, Fellowship in breast and oncplastic Surgery
Oncologist, Mumbai
The prognosis of fourth stage colon cancer depends upon the type of cancer and the amount of spread. If few metastasis to liver or lung, then they can be resected after giving chemotherapy. If the metastasis are unresectable, then Chemotherapy wit...
8 people found this helpful

Hi Following is the report of an endoscopy: large friable, polypoidal growth in ascending colon almost adjacent to caecum. Looks malignant. Biopsy done multiple polyps in transverse colon. Please guide.

MBBS, DNB Gen Surgery, DNB Surgical Oncology
Oncologist, Bangalore
You need to wait for the biopsy results. You will need surgery. The extend of surgery need to be discussed. However, all planning to be fine after a CT scan.
6 people found this helpful

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