Colon cancer slowly develops over many years. It typically starts as a small tumour, called a polyp, on the surface of the organ. There is also a hereditary type of colon cancer.
Abdominal pain or cramps
Diarrhea, constipation or narrow stool for more than a few days
Persistent bowel movement even after visiting the toilet
Fatigue and weakness
Loss of weight
Though the symptoms may not necessarily indicate cancer, it is desirable to get screened and rule it out.
Since colon cancer sets in slowly, people with pre-cancerous cells don’t have manifest symptoms. Hence, regular screening is suggested to detect the cancer while it is easier to treat. If doctors suspect the disease, you will be subjected to the following:
Assessment of medical history
Imaging procedures like x-ray, CT scan, MRI, etc.
Genetic testing (if you are vulnerable to colon cancer by heredity)
Surgery: If the cancer is localized in the polyp, a simple colonoscopy is the only treatment required to remove it. In a laparoscopy, a thin, lighted tube mounted with a tiny video camera is inserted into an incision in the abdominal wall. Guided by the image generated on the screen, the operation is performed by special instruments.
Chemotherapy: Some colon cancer patients develop abnormal microscopic that escape detection and metastasize to other parts of the body. In such cases secondary chemotherapy is given after surgery.
Other Treatments: For metastatic colon cancer, other procedures may be employed like radiation and immunotherapy, etc. Surgery may also be performed on other areas where the cancer has spread.