Cancer is a malignant disease that iswidespread nowadays.It can potentiallyup shoot anywhere in the body withnouniquewarningsigns.A sufferermight come to know at a very later stage that they have gotcancer.There may well bea chance that he or she is warned way before the diseasereaches the stage where it cannot be treated.All thisis a matter of luck rather than anything else.Cancercanoccur inmany forms for example liver cancer,breastcancer,thyroid cancer,cervical cancer,colon canceretc.In shorta cancerous tissue can form anywhere in the body.
We will focus on colon cancer in thisessay.Colon cancer or colorectalcanceris a cancer, whichoccurs in rectum.Thecolon isknown asthe large intestine or large bowel andthe rectumconnects the colon to the anus. If colon cancer is diagnosed at an earlystage it can be cured through chemotherapy or surgical treatment however thatis only possible if it spreads in to the nearby lymph nodes.The American Cancer society stated that colon cancer is one of the main reasons of deaths in America. Unlike breast cancer or cervicalcancer, whichaffects women only, colon cancer can affect men and women alike,irrespective of class, race or ethnicity. Despite thisit has been seen that itis more common in men than in women.
Colon cancer symptoms are simply the apparent changes that one can notice.Many colon cancerpatientsdo notnotice any visible change however there are few things that indicate if a person is affected by this disease.For example, according toCappell(2008),a person might feel abdominal pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen. Diarrheaor constipation may also beone of the symptoms butmany patients tend to ignore such symptomsas these may be caused by food poisoning ornot eating enough fibrousfood. However if the blood comes in the stool or there is a constant weight loss orintestinal obstruction then these symptoms are often taken relativelyseriously by thepeople. In almost all casesas stated inLieberman(2009),with proper screening,doctors can detect colon cancer before symptoms develop. The doctor will simply perform a physical test,heor shewill press the belly or abdomen and ifthey feela mass thentheywill confirmdoubts through fecal occult blood test (FOBT),this test can detect small amounts of blood in the stool but the loop hole here is that it can alsocome negative for patients who do have colon cancer thusfor this reason it must be done along with colonoscopy orsigmoidoscopy(theseare the imaging tests that show the entire colon). If these tests show that a person has colorectal cancer then the doctors further confirmitthrough a CT or MRI scan of the abdomen and pelvic area. Sometimes the doctor might also get a CT scan of brain and chest to seehow far the cancer has spread andatuntilwhich stagethe cancer has matured.”Colon cancerisdivided into 5 stages;stage 0 is the early stage where it only affects the innermostlayer of the intestineand the first stage affects the inner layer. By the end of stage three,the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and fifth stage is where ithas affected the other organs (the chance of survival at this stage is very less).”
The kind of treatment given to the patient depends upon the stage of cancer the person is going through. Generally there are three kinds of treatments;surgery,radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Surgery means removing thecancerous cell through an operation. It is more often known as colectomy. Surgery includes localexcisionwhere the doctorremoves the cancerwithout cutting through the abdominal wall but in case the cancer is large,the doctorwill perform an anastomosis(sewing the healthy parts of the colon together).The doctor will alsousually remove lymph nodes near the colon and examine them under a microscope to see whether they contain cancer. The lastkind of surgery istheradiofrequency ablation. Here the doctor uses the electrode to kill the cancerous cells. Second type of treatment ischemotherapy whichis widely practiced. Chemotherapycan be very painful as it is injectedinto the blood and burns the cancer cells. It can either be injected into the vein or taken as adrug.Chemomobilisationof the hepatic artery may be done if the cancer has reached the liver but that happensonly insevere cases. Thirdly in radiation therapy, doctors use X-rays or other type of radiations to kill cancer cells orprevent thesefrom growing.There are two types of radiation therapy;external and internal.Theradiation machineis used to send radiation outside of the body towards the cancer andinternal radiation uses a radioactive substance sealedoffinneedles,thatare placed into the cancer
There is no definite prognosis for this canceras a patient after all the treatments may develop certain complications like blockage of the colon,development of a second primarycolorectal cancer or the cancer cells may return in the colon. A treatment that might besuccessful for one may not be as successful for the other but generally colon cancer in many people is a curable disease if diagnosed earlyas cited inSteinberget al. (1986). It greatly depends on factors like the stage the cancer was diagnosed. If treated early,vast majority ofpatients survive atleast five years after diagnosis but thisfive yearsurvival rate drops if the cancer has spread to other organs. If the cancerous cells donotreturn in five years time,itoftenmeansthe patient has been cured. Thefirst three stages are considered curable but if it is diagnosed in the fourth stage,the chances of survival are limp. At the end of the day,fighting with any disease is all about the amount of strength,hope andwill-powerthe patient has.With the constant support of family and friends, a patientmay live a longer, betterlife.
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