Large Intestine – Colon Cancer

Jan 11, 2022

Table of contents

What is colon cancer?

The large intestine is one of the parts of our digestive system and is the general name given to the 1.5 - 2 meter section. The last 15 cm of the large intestine is called the rectum, while the remaining part is known as the colon . The large intestine is just below the stomach and surrounds the small intestine. After the small intestine, the nutrients that are transferred to this region to continue digestion are largely digested in this region. In the colon, the absorption of the water and minerals that our body needs is completed and then the stool is passed to the rectum where it is stored until it is eliminated from the body. Colon cancer is a cancer of the cells in the colon, which is located at the beginning of the large intestine and makes up most of it. With the proliferation of the number of cells, it spreads to all colon cells in a circular manner. In cases of early diagnosis, the cancer cells are detected only in the colon. In cases where early diagnosis is not made, cancerous cells in the colon can spread to the lymph nodes, nearby organs and through the bloodstream to the lungs, liver and other organs. The importance of early diagnosis, which applies to almost all types of cancer , also applies to colon cancer . If colon cancer is detected at an early stage, it is even possible to completely get rid of the disease.

How is Large Intestine Diagnosed?

Colon cancer is diagnosed through screening programs or when people consult a doctor because of symptoms of colon cancer. The specialist first listens to the patient's history, complaints and past illnesses and then performs a physical examination. The first thing to look for in order to make a diagnosis is occult blood in the stool. The stool taken from the patient is examined and it is determined whether hemoglobin is present in the stool. At this point, it is sometimes seen that the presence of hemoglobin is detected due to different reasons even if the patient does not have colon cancer. Therefore, a total of 3 tests are performed, each with two different samples. In the second step, the patient undergoes a blood test. The blood test evaluates anemia, general blood values and CEA levels. CEA is actually not specific for colon cancer. However, CEA values above normal draw attention as one of the clues of colon cancer. Colonoscopy is the clearest method to make a definitive diagnosis of colon cancer. Colonoscopy, an endoscopic instrument, helps to examine the lining of the large intestine in detail. Lesions in the intestine are detected and colonoscopy is used to take a biopsy of the lesions. A piece of tissue taken from the large intestine is examined in the laboratory. According to the pathological results obtained as a result of the examination, it is determined in the clearest way whether the person has colon cancer or not.

Colon Cancer Symptoms

Colon cancer symptoms are a subject of curiosity for many people. First of all, it should be noted that having some or all of these symptoms does not mean that you have or do not have colon cancer. A definitive diagnosis will only be made after a specialized medical examination. The most common symptoms of colon cancer are persistent diarrhea and constipation. Common symptoms include thinning of the stool, which is always of normal thickness, blood coming from the anus and stool, and egg white-like secretions in the stool. When colon cancer is relatively advanced and begins to block the intestine, abdominal pain and swelling occur. People with such complaints are advised to consult a specialist doctor. The following symptoms are also considered to be among the most important symptoms of colon cancer;
  • Difficulty in defecation, constant need to strain
  • Severe pain or pain during defecation
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling of insufficient emptying of the intestines even though the need for stool has been satisfied
  • Vomiting
Diagnosing cancer before the disease progresses is a factor that significantly increases life chances. Colon cancer screening is recommended, especially if you have a family history of colon cancer under the age of 50. Between 2 and 5 years, colon cancer screening and tests can make it possible to diagnose the disease early.

Colon Cancer Treatment Methods

The treatment of colon cancer has become possible with today's medical advances. The treatment methods to be followed in colon cancer will vary depending on exactly where the cancer is located and the stage of the cancer. Early diagnosed colon cancer treatments are usually performed with surgical interventions. In the surgical intervention, cancerous cells detected at an early stage are cut out together with the surrounding tissues. The lymph nodes, one of the surrounding tissues, are also examined by a pathologist after surgery. This will determine whether the cancer has spread outside the large intestine. Popup Örneği
Colon cancer 1. Phase patients do not undergo chemotherapy. 2. A small proportion of stage patients can receive chemotherapy after surgery. In stage 3 colon cancer, chemotherapy is applied to prevent the spread of cancer after surgical operation. In the case of advanced colon cancer , the general condition of the patient is taken into consideration and patients are tried to be relieved with symptom-oriented surgical interventions. Treatment of patients at this stage is determined by the patient's general condition, the severity of symptoms and the available resources. Therefore, early diagnosis of colon cancer is of vital importance.

Stages of colon cancer

When colon cancer stages are examined in detail, they are divided into four different groups. However, it is seen that it is divided into two groups in terms of cancer behavior. The first group, consisting of the first and second stages, constitutes the initial stage of cancer and the early detection period. 3 and 4. The second group of stages refers to late detection and advanced stages of cancer. Treatment modalities are available for both groups of stages, but they differ depending on the overall situation.

1. Phase

The cancer has only spread to the walls of the large intestine. But it has not yet spread to all layers of the intestine. Colon cancer at this stage produces very few symptoms. Symptoms are often confused with conditions such as hemorrhoids. In order to detect cancer at this stage, the patient must have a high level of awareness and, in case of any suspicion, should directly consult a specialist physician.

2. Phase

Second stage colon cancer is also considered an early diagnosis. At this stage, the cancer cells have broken through the intestinal wall and spread to all layers of the intestine. Symptoms are more severe than in the first phase. Diagnosing colon cancer in the first two stages makes treatment easier because the cancerous area is extremely small. Chemotherapy is also usually not necessary. In addition, the risk of cancer recurrence is much lower.

Phase 3

Stage 3 offers a limited chance of early diagnosis, but if it is too late, there are likely to be bigger problems. 3. At this stage, the cancerous area is no longer polyp-like and has the consistency to block the area. It is directed to the lymph nodes because it has less room to grow in the large intestine. So we can say that it has either spread or is very close to spreading to other organs. At this stage, surgical intervention is followed by chemotherapy to prevent the spread of cancer.

Phase 4

Stage four colon cancer is the last stage in which cancer can develop. At this stage, it is assumed that the cancer has spread to other organs. The first risk of spread is in the lymph nodes, followed by the liver. In this phase, direct medication methods are used. Very heavy medical drugs are used to try to stop the spread of the cancer and then eradicate it. Although the chances of a cure are lower than at other stages, the risk of beating the cancer is still very high as long as treatment is adhered to.

Large Intestine (Colon) Cancer Surgery Summary

Anesthesia TypeGeneral Anesthesia
Duration of Surgery2 - 4 Hours
Length of Stay in Hospital5 Days
Return to Work Period1.5 months

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