Large intestine of the body is called ‘colon’ and colon cancer is the presence of cancerous cells or tumors in intestine. It may affect the rectum portion (end of colon) or spreading widely on the intestine itself. There are several types of cancer which attacks colon. Lymphoma, melanoma and sarcoma are some of the carcinoma affecting the intestine.
American cancer society has classified colon cancer as one of the leading cause of death due to cancer. Initially the colon cancer develops on the lining of the intestine or the rectum. The exact cause of colon cancer is not known. Like most of the cancerous cells colon cancer also starts in the form of benign (harmless and short lived) and later it develops into malignant cancer.
Colon cancer is likely to affect elderly persons and who have already some form of cancerous cells in their body. The person who eats a very high diet with red meat can get colon cancer. Crohn’s disease may also trigger the formation of colon cancer in some individuals. The individuals with a family history of cancer in any part are likely to get cancer in colon at later stages.
Like other forms of cancer colon cancer cannot be diagnosed at early stages. There are no proper symptoms and signs for suggesting the presence of cancerous cells in intestine. In some cases, the individual reports of blood in the stool and abdominal pain. Changes in bowel movements and diarrhea are common symptoms of other cancer.
FOBT or fecal occult blood test may confirm the presence of colon cancer if it contains traces of blood. However this test alone cannot confirm the presence of disease. The doctor will physically examine the body and look out for mass or lump in the abdomen area. Colonoscopy and signoidoscopy is the ideal tests for screening the presence of cancerous cells in intestine.
The plan of treatment largely depends on the intensity or stage of cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy is done for destroying cancer causing tissues. Surgery is performed if the cancer is in stage III or more for removing part of the intestine or sometimes in full. In some cases even after removal of colon you should follow chemotherapy procedure if your doctor suggests it. Radiation therapy is used for burning the cancerous cells and is given together with chemotherapy.