Colon cancer is a pathological process that is characterized by the malformation growth from the mucous membrane of the large intestine.
Possible locations of the tumour are:
This disease is amongst the most common types of the malignant formations. The incidence of colon cancer is 15-20 cases per 100 thousands of population a year. The highest incidence is observed in the USA and Western European countries.
Colon cancer is mostly developed from the polyps, which are the precancerous condition. The main risk factors of the disease include:
Physical inactivity. It is assumed that the low physical activity leads to a slow intestinal motility. This reduces the rate of evacuation of the intestinal contents, and increases the contact time of the colon wall with the carcinogens.
Diet peculiarities. Some foods help to clean the intestines from carcinogens. It can be any product rich in fibre. Therefore, low consumption of vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, cereals increases the risk of cancer in the colon.
The consumption of products containing carcinogens. The impact on the risk of developing cancer increases upon the consumption of smoked food, food cooked in vegetable oil and subjected to prolonged thermal stress.
Effect of endotoxin. Excessive intake of meat protein foods increases the likelihood of the disease, as in the process of metabolism N-nitrosamines are formed, which have a carcinogenic effect.
At the initial stage there are no symptoms, therefore it is only possible to detect a tumour during a colonoscopy. Among the earliest symptoms the following are experienced:
Symptoms of colon cancer depend on the location of the tumour. In the right part of the intestine the absorption of the nutrients is more intense, hence the cancer is manifested with the intoxication syndrome. Products of the tumour breakdown are absorbed into the blood causing fever, weakness, and headache and general malaise.
Denser stool masses are formed in the left part of the intestine. Therefore, if the tumour is located on the left side, the symptoms of the intestinal obstruction predominate. They include:
Depending on the predominating one or another group of symptoms, six clinical forms of colon cancer are differentiated:
Pain is the most common symptom of colon cancer. 90% of patients experience pain. The pathological impurities in the faeces (mucus, blood, pus) are experienced by 50% of patients.
If colon cancer is suspected the following methods can help to confirm the diagnosis:
X-ray research. The contrasting medium is inserted into the intestine. Then an X-ray image (ergograph) can be taken or the doctor examines the intestine in real time (barium enema). The most informative is a study with double contrast, when, after a bowel movement from the barium mixture the air is introduced there.
With the help of the ergograph the following things can be determined:
Colonoscopy is an endoscopic method of the diagnostics connected with an instrument insertion into the colon through the rectum. It helps to take the biopsy for histological examination.
The following methods are used to determine the degree of the extent of the pathological process and detect metastases:
The main treatment for bowel cancer is surgery. Operations can be done, during which the organ affected by the tumour, the mesentery and lymph nodes are removed.
During germination of the tumour into nearby tissue an extended resection of the bowel is performed. It presupposes the removal of the portions of the small intestine, bladder, liver or other organs, depending on the clinical situation.
Auxiliary treatment methods are:
Medical science does not stand still. New cancer treatments - surgical and conservative – are constantly developing. In recent years the following technologies and medications made an appearance:
The disease is characterized by a more favourable prognosis compared with many other cancer pathologies.
In recent years the significant reduction of mortality of colon cancer sufferers was realised because this disease:
After radical treatment the overall five-year survival is about 50%. It is close to 100%, if the tumour is within the submucosa.
A lot depends on the presence or absence of metastases in the lymph nodes. If they are present, the five-year survival rate is 40%, if not - 80%.
Prognosis is better for exophytictumour growth in the gut lumen, than for the endophytic towards the intestinal wall. Prognosis is better for the high-differentiated formations than for low-differentiated.
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