What is a Colon Cancer
ICD-10 code C18. 9Colon cancer can be explained as that type of cancer which initiates and effects the large intestine, known as “Colon”. To be exact, colon is the concluding part of our digestive tract.
While colon cancer is capable of affecting anyone regardless of their age, it most commonly occurs among older aged people. With its formation taking place inside the colon, generally it starts off as noncancerous clumps of cells that are known as polyps; and these polyps are what eventually turn into colon cancers.
Experts at Manhattan Medical Arts highly recommend patients to opt for screening tests at regular intervals, so that the polyps can be timely identified and removed before they become cancerous – Screening tests are essential since these polyps are very small in size and barely cause any illness and infections.
Types of Colorectal Cancer?
Adenocarcinoma is the most commonly experienced type of colon cancers – while majority of the people are diagnosed with this type, there do exist a few other less-known types of colon cancer, which also have their own separate treatments.
Listed below are the few types of colon cancer:
Covering the majority of patients who’re diagnosed with colorectal cancer, adenocarcinoma are the cancerous cells that line the inside surface of the colon.
– Carcinoid Tumors
Carcinoid tumors is the type of cancer that occurs in those intestine cells that are responsible for producing hormones.
– Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
Rarely found in the colon, Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are a type of soft tissue sarcoma, which can occur throughout the gastrointestinal tract. This type of tumor can also appear as other distinct types of sarcomas, occurring in the connective tissue of the colon or even in the blood vessels.
Lymphoma is the type of cancer that mainly affects the immune system. While it may commonly be initiated from the lymph nodes, but can also take place in the colon.
Colon Cancer Causes
Generally you’d get to hear that physicians are not entirely sure what are the exact colon cancer causes. Mostly, these colon cancers start off when your colon cells go through the process of mutation, and changes take place in their DNA. DNA of a cell is responsible for guiding the cell what to do.
Our body contains healthy cells that are designed to grow and divide at regular intervals when required, with an objective to maintain a functioning body. However, when a cell’s DNA goes through changes, making it a cancerous cell; then those cells just continue to grow and divide constantly, which leads to cells accumulation and consequent formation of a tumor.
What Are The Signs of Colon Cancer?
Listed below are the commonly experienced colon cancer symptoms:
- Constant variation in your natural bowel habits; which includes constipation, diarrhea, or even changes in the how consistently you pass the stool
- Rectal bleeding or blood found in your stool
- Constant abdominal pain
- Feeling that your bowel isn’t empty, even after passing stool
- Feeling fatigued
- Weight loss
At the very early stages of the colon cancer, most people do not feel any symptoms at all – And even when the symptoms do appear, they vary based on the size of the cancer and where it may be located within your large intestine.
Risk Factors For Colorectal Cancer
Here is a list of factors that can highten your risk of getting colorectal cancer:
The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you age, and gets even higher for older aged people. However, there are other risk factors as well that might increase your risk, they include:
- Any bowel disease that cause inflammation, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- History of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer, be it personal or family history
- Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), and other genetic syndromes such as Lynch syndrome
There are certain lifestyle factors as well that are also capable of increasing the risk of colorectal cancer:
- Absence of exercise
- Lacking consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Maintaing a diet that is low-fiber and high-fat
- High consumption of processed meat
- Being obese and overweight
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Smoking/use of tobacco
What Is a Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy can be explained as a medical examination that is carried out with an objective to identify changes in your colon as well as rectum – changes such as swollen, irritated tissues, polyps or cancer.
This examination consists of the preventative care doctor using a long and flexible tube known as a colonoscope, which has a camera attached at the end of it. The tube is inserted into the patient’s rectum, allowing the doctor to have visual access of the patient’s colon.
The colonoscopy procedure is specific procedure that is only carried out by the physicians who’re experienced in conducting this exam. While this exam can last anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes, it requires for intravenous medications to be administered in order to make you feel drowsy and relaxed; and the patients are requested to lie down on their left side.
Colonoscopy procedure requires the doctors to use colonoscope, which is a lengthy and flexible tube with a camera attached to the end of it; inserted throught the rectum and all the way to the end of larger intestine, it basically offers a visual access of the lining of the colon, for the doctor to assess any present abnormalities.
The flexibility of the tube allows the doctor to move it through the curves present inside the colon, and the patient might also be requested to change positions accordingly to help doctor maneuver the scope. Another feature of the colonoscope is that it can blow air inside the colon, which leads to the expansion of the colon enabling doctor to have better access and view.
In the duration of colonoscopy procedure, if the doctor conducting the exam comes across anything that seems abnormal, tissue in small amounts can be removed for the purpose of biopsy; while extra growths or polyps shall be identified and removed consequently.
Colonoscopy procedure is an immensely effective treatment that enables doctor to carry out an accurate diagnosis as well as treatment, helping patients avoid the risk of major operations.
What To Eat Before Colonoscopy?
Experts suggest that people opting for colonoscopy procedure should start consuming a low-fiber diet a couple of days earlier; which means discontinued consumption of nuts, whole grains, dried fruit, seeds, or even raw fruits or vegetables.
It is prohibited to eat solid foods one day prior to the colonoscopy exam. On the contrary, it is suggested to only consume clear liquids such as bouillon or clear broth, soft drinks, fresh juices, tea or black coffee, etc.
What To Eat After Colonoscopy?
Patients who’ve gone through the colonoscopy procedure need to make sure that they only consume edibles that are not too hard for their digestive system. In order to avoid dehydration, one should consume as much of fluids as possible.
Listed below are the foods and drinks that you can have after a colonoscopy exam:
- scrambled eggs
- tender, cooked vegetables
- canned fruit, such as peaches
- drinks with electrolytes
- fruit juice
- vegetable juice
- herbal tea
- saltine crackers
- graham crackers
- white bread or toast
- smooth nut butter
- soft white fish
- apple butter
- mashed or baked potato
– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.
About The AuthorDr. Syra Hanif M.D.
Board Certified Primary Care Physician
Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.Read More