What Is Colon Cancer?
Before Patient can understand how colon cancer can affect Patient, Patient must understand exactly what cancer is. Cancer is the umbrella name given to hundreds of diseases and disorders. Though talked about as lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancers are many more, the disease does not really affect the organ but affects the cell of the organ. The title of the cancer comes from the organ affected. The colon, a major organ in Patient's intestine, is made up of cells and when those cells become cancerous, colon cancer is diagnosed.
The cells will become cancerous if they begin to divide without control or function. This will cause damage to other cells as the dividing cells vie for space and dominancy. The normal function of the cells is to divide to replace old cells. When the cancerous cells divide without control the other cells have little chance competing with them. The uncontrolled dividing cells take up more and more space until they become a mass of cells and become tumor or growth. Once large enough, the tumor can cause discomfort or even pain. The tumor, if not removed, will grow big enough so that Patient can actually see or feel the affected area. For example in breast cancer, the woman or doctor can feel on the outside of the skin for a bump or lump that is out of place.
There are two different kinds of tumors. The first type of tumor is the benign and is not life threatening. It usually does not spread. They are akin to a wart or growth Patient might see on Patient's skin. A doctor may choose to remove the benign tumor are just to leave it because to disturb the tumor might cause the cancer to become malignant. When the tumor cells do become malignant, the tumor now is cancerous. These cancerous cells can spread throughout the body and invade each cell, tissue, or organ. If the cancer is spread too much it can even enter the blood stream and cause blood cancer. This is the most serious type of cancer because the cancer cells now are incorporated to all parts of Patient's body. As the cancer spreads throughout Patient's body, the new cancer cells will invade healthy cells and cause them to become cancerous. A simple tumor can spread cancerous cells into all the organ systems of the body and eventually one will succumb and die. Each organ produces a specific kind of cell. So if Patient's cancer starts in the colon and move towards Patient's lungs through the blood system the cancer will still be called colon cancer even though Patient's lungs are now infected. Another example would be if breast cancer got into the bloodstream and moved into the ovaries. The breast cancer would be in a different location in a different body organ. The name of the cancer was still be called breast cancer. The original place of where to cancer started is the origin of the name the cancer will receive while it is in Patient's body.
Though the colon does not seem a vital organs system, it is essential to life. Why is the colon such a vital part to Patient's healthy body existence? The colon is part of the digestive system of which most of the waste material is stored. Inside the colon is where Patient's feces will travel and finish the final part of digestion before being excreted out of the anus. At the end of the long portion of the colon is a small part of the colon that is called the rectum, which leads to the anus. The entire system which is made up of the colon, rectum, and anus makes up what is known as the large intestines.
What Factors Contribute To Colon Cancer?
Diet is the overall contribution factor of colon cancer. If Patient eat a fatty, meat filled diet, the chances of Patient contracting colon cancer is higher than if Patient's dies contained more vegetables and grain products. Research has shown that most Western populations have a higher incidence of colon cancer than those of Asia. These correlates with the diet the Asians ingest. They consume more rice and vegetables than most Americans and Europeans. Africans also have a lower chance of getting colon cancer due to their intake of grains. If Patient are partial to fast food, Patient's chance of being a victim of colon cancer rises significantly.
When fat enters Patient's system it is broken down differently than grain and vegetables. The complex chemical makeup of fat cause the substance to break down slowly and there are residue substances left over. These substances rest in Patient's colon longer than others. They carry components in them that are carcinogens, or cancer causing substances. These carcinogens will lie in the folds of Patient's colon and do their dirty work of mutating cells and creating tumors. If Patient continue to consume fat without the intake of fruits and vegetables, the fat carcinogens will continue to pile up. This makes the area of Patient's colon highly susceptible to colon cancer. The lower intake of fat and the increase in fruits and grains will scrape and dig those carcinogens out of the folds of Patient's colon and decrease Patient's chance for polyps.
If these polyps appear, most professionals believe all are non-cancerous at the beginning. With time some develop into malignant tumors by slowly invading the healthy tissues and cells. The surrounding tissue is aggravated and the cell division biological clock goes off kilter. The cells start dividing out of control and soon the polyp will be a mass of cancer that will spread if not treated. The colon cancer can definitely affect the colon and the function of the organ, the biggest danger is the cancer spreading to the liver or blood where treatment success is highly unlikely.
Colon cancer can also be linked to ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. These are inflammations found within Patient's colon that cause adnominal pain and diarrhea. Over 2 million of the residents of the United States is affected with this disorder and over half will develop colon cancer from this inflammation. Again this disorder is consistent with diet and is found more in the Western world than in the East. The same process proceeds with the inflammations as with the development of polyps. The irony is that with the inflammation, the tissue is already weakened due the inflammation making the carcinogens easier to do their job of creating polyps. By treating these colon disorders, the chance of developing colon cancer will be greatly decreased. These conditions can be treated with drugs and diet or in extreme cases surgery. It is better to treat these conditions when they appear than take the chance of the development of colon polyps or colon cancer.
Colon Cancer and Genetics
Some professionals argue that cancer in its genetically disposed to an individual if there family has a history of colon cancer. This is partially correct, because 20% of all colon cancer patients have had family that has had a history of colon cancer in their past. If Patient's family has a history of colon cancer, it is imperative that Patient visit Patient's local doctor and have yourself checked out. If the person with colon cancer within Patient's family is Patient's father or Patient's mother, the chances of Patient having colon cancer will increase by 18%. If Patient are genetically preordained to have colon cancer, there are several factors that must be considered. This means that Patient's chromosomes within the cells of Patient's colon are already set so that colon cancer can develop and spread rapidly. The damaged chromosomes are more susceptible to the whims of the cancer causing carcinogens because their immunity to the proteins and amino acids that cause the division of cells is already low.
If Patient do not know Patient's family medical history it is best to call a relative and find out as soon as possible. Since colon cancer can be in an embarrassing disorder to admit among friends and family, someone in Patient's family would know if Patient's father or mother had such condition. The individual must remember that the genetic possibility of Patient acquiring colon cancer is already at 20%. This means if Patient are already have a one out of five chance of contracting colon cancer. If Patient have a fatty diet and eat lots of meat and little vegetables and grains Patient are even more susceptible to colon cancer. Like heart disease, the lifestyle choices and the genetic code within Patient's body determines the higher chance of colon cancer occurrence.
There are other conditions which cause the risk of colon cancer to appear more frequently in some individuals than others. The age of a person is not a factor when dealing with the cumulative aspects of colon cancer. There are several conditions that affect the occurrence of the cells within the colon but the mutations of the cells are still due to the heredity, diet, and predisposition of individual. Remember because Patient have only one of these factors does not mean that that factor will be enough to cause colon cancer. Sometimes it is the combination of factors that increases the percentage of risk. Even if Patient dont have any of these factors within Patient's lifestyle, it is better to have yourself checked out by Patient's doctor even if Patient do not show any symptoms or pain. The polyps can exist within Patient's colon right now and Patient would not know it. They are just waiting to find the method and means in which to mutate the surrounding tissue and start to spread cancerous cells. The risk outweighs the benefits of not being examined, because colon cancer is a silent killer. Once the cells are cancerous and has spread beyond the colon, sometimes it is too late for treatment to prevail. It is better to go through the discomfort and sometimes embarrassment of the examination then going on with Patient's life without lifestyle changes and the possibility of developing colon cancer.
What Are The Symptoms of Colon Cancer?
There is not one symptom of colon cancer that can be pointed at by a doctor where he will say, Look, Patient have colon cancer Patient could have one symptom or Patient could have them all. Some of the symptoms are cross characterized with other diseases because the symptoms show up in many of the disorders and diseases that exist. One symptom is fatigue and weakness. If Patient have a constant feeling of being tired and not really wanting to do anything because Patient's body is just too weak to do it, this can be a sign found in many diseases and disorders. Go see a doctor if this is Patient's condition and be ready to tell him, if Patient's predisposed to colon cancer due to heredity or genetics.
Another symptom that might go with the first is shortness of breath. If Patient have shortness of breath, even when not doing strenuous exercises, this may also be a symptom of colon cancer. If Patient climb a flight of stairs or walk across a large parking lot trying to reach Patient's car and Patient become short of breath, then either Patient are out of shape or there is a more serious reason for Patient's condition. Both of these symptoms are a red flag telling Patient that something is wrong with Patient's body. Take the flag warning serious and visit Patient's doctor.
A more visual symptom than the first two is a change in Patient's bowel movements. If Patient have narrow stools or diarrhea and it continues for a longer period than normal, a professional consultation may be needed for consultation. Even prolong periods of constipation should be a concern for the individual. Abdominal cramps, bloating, or weight loss is serious symptoms that no one should ignore. If he had been diagnosed with any irritable bowel disorder and Patient are having these symptoms for a longer period than what Patient are accustomed, a visit to the doctor is more prudent than waiting it out and see if it goes away.
Colon cancer can display one or all of these symptoms. Some of the symptoms are so related to other diseases or just being out of shape that it is sometimes hard for the individual to discern whether the symptom is important enough to warrant a visit to a physician. If Patient have a combination of these symptoms it is imperative that Patient go see Patient's doctor. Something is not right with Patient's body and Patient need to have it checked out. The faster Patient get to the doctor, the more chance that the polyps that cause colon cancer will be discovered and they can be removed before becoming cancerous. The colon is not an area of the body that many people want to discuss nor have any examination of. To have a stranger looking into Patient's anal cavity is an intrusive and sometimes horrifying experience. It is sometimes better to swallow Patient's pride and to undertake the examination just to make sure that Patient's life is secure. Remember that it does not only affect Patient's life, it also affects the life and relationship of Patient's friends and family. Since colon cancer happens primarily in males, above the age of 40, the prime of Patient's life and security of Patient's family's lives can be cut short. It's not worth the chance. If Patient have these symptoms go see a professional and have the examination.
How To Test For Colon Cancer
As previously mentioned, the examination for colon cancer can be a little embarrassing and uncomfortable. They are two major procedures that test for colon cancer. The first of these procedures is the lower G.I. series which uses a barium enema x-ray. Before the procedure begins the doctoral will ask the patient to go on a clear liquid diet for several days. The procedure takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on the problem being studied and the shape and position of the colon. During this procedure, the patient will be given a white chalky liquid substance that contains barium. As the liquid goes through the digestive system the barium will coat the inside of the stomach, small intestines, large intestines, colon, and rectum. As Patient drink this liquid Patient may fill full or have mild abdominal discomfort, but this will go away shortly after the procedure. An x-ray of the colon of the patient will be taken to check for polyps or other cancerous growths. If a clear x-ray cannot be obtained, the doctors will insert gas into Patient's abdominal cavity and colon to expand the region to get a better picture. The x-ray picture will be looked at by several specialists to find dark shadows on the picture that could be a sign of the cancerous growth. The doctor may also take a blood sample to test for carcinoembyonic antigen. If this antigen is present, the doctors will detect high levels of cancerous material in Patient's bloodstream, which is usually a sign that there are also high levels of cancerous materials in Patient's colon.
Another procedure to check for colon cancer is the colonoscopy. Here a doctor will insert a long, flexible tube into Patient's rectum to inspect the inside of Patient's colon. The patient is usually sedated for this procedure because it is very invasive and painful. The colonoscopy is usually the best way to find polyps or growth within Patient's colon. While the tube is inserted into Patient's rectum, the doctor will look through a viewing camera to search the entire surface area of the inside of Patient's colon. If polyps are found they are usually removed from Patient's colon and sent to a pathologist. The pathologist will examine the polyps of the microscope and determine whether they are cancerous or not. The pathologist will also let Patient know, if Patient have precancerous cells within Patient's colon. The precancerous cells are a step away from turning into cancer cells. These precancerous polyps will develop into larger polyps and began to infiltrate the cells within Patient's colon. If the cancer cells are found within Patient's colon, there will be other procedures that will look for cancer within Patient's liver and other organs of Patient's body. These procedures can include chest x-rays, blood work, and other medical procedures that will determine if the cancer adds spread to any other part of Patient's body. Most men refuse to have a colonoscopy due to the fact of the invasive nature of the procedure. The procedure is sometimes considered a social taboo for many men of certain cultures. This is a sad thing because these men are putting their lives at risk and also risking the quality of life for family and friends. If Patient are married to or have a close friend who is a male that has colon cancer symptoms or has reached the age in which colon cancer might affect them tomost, convince them to see their doctor and to have the procedure done. Once the procedure is done and there are no cancers problems found within the colon, the procedures shouldnt have to be redone for about five years. This time period could be shorter if Patient have a genetic displacement for colon cancer.
Treatments For Colon Cancer
If Patient are diagnosed with colon cancer, surgery is usually the best treatment. During the surgery, the tumor or malign polyp will be removed along with the tissue surrounding it. The surgery is nothing to be afraid of because the area of tissue around the polyp is usually a small perhaps, dime sized piece of tissue. The doctor will connect the healthy tissue around the hole so that it may grow together. If successful the cancerous cells and all tissues that was affected by the cancerous cells will have been removed and not affect the new tissue. If the cancer has spread into the rectum, the entire rectum is usually removed.
Complications from the surgery are not from the procedure, but from the chance that the cancerous cells may have spread to other parts of the body. If the cancer has spread to other organs within or around the colon, the survival rate for the patient is about 10% within a five-year period. If the cancer has not spread to other organs, most cancer patients can live ordinary lives. Eighty percent of all colon patients survive.
If the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, more advanced surgical procedures may need to be performed. If surgery is out for the option, then chemotherapy will be implemented. The chemotherapy uses medicines that travel throughout the body and attacks cancerous cells. After colon cancer surgery there may be microscopic residue of cancerous cells in Patient's colon. The chemicals will travel throughout Patient's body and into Patient's colon and attack the cancerous growths. Chemotherapy is usually given at the doctor's office, but there are also instances when the chemotherapy can be taken from home. The most uncomfortable thing about chemotherapy is the side effects. These side effects are as individualized as the cancer itself. Some patients lose their hair, while others will become tired and dysfunctional during the process. The chemotherapy patient may become noxious to the point of vomiting or have bowel symptoms that include constipation or diarrhea.
If Patient are diagnosed with colon cancer, Patient cant afford to ignore the doctor's advice. This is a life-threatening condition which could lead to a slow and painful death. It is not fair to yourself or Patient's family to let this condition go without proper treatment, surgery, or chemotherapy. The survival rate from surgery is very good compared to other types of cancers. The professionals that either perform the surgery or initiate the chemotherapy know what theyre doing and Patient's best interest and Patient's life is in their hands. It is better to have the procedures done as quickly as possible after diagnosis because the danger of the spread of the cancer from the colon to other parts of Patient's body or organ systems is extremely high. Without the surgery, the cancer will definitely spread into Patient's liver, lungs, and blood. When this happens, the doctors can really do nothing for Patient except to make Patient's journey toward death more comfortable. If Patient's having trouble making the decision to have surgery or to consider chemotherapy, talk to a friend or a family member that has had a colon cancer treatment. Their experiences may make Patient feel more at ease and more willing to take the treatment. Dont wait too long, because time at this point is not on Patient's side.
Grape Seed Extract and Colon Cancer
Alternative medicine is medicine that is practiced using nontraditional methods is methods that have not been fully accredited from the medical profession. The use of alternative methods for cancer treatment has become more popular. Whether Patient believe in a holistic approach or traditional medical procedures have failed Patient, alternative medicine is an option that many colon cancer patients can turn to. Be sure to call Patient's insurance company before Patient start any alternative medicine treatment. Some treatments are not covered by Patient's insurance and Patient want to be able to pay for the treatment through Patient's insurance if possible. If Patient's insurance does not cover the alternative medicine cancer treatment, Patient may have to rely on Patient's own financial resources to cover the expense.
A relatively new alternative medicine treatment for colon cancer is the use of grape seed extract. The chemicals found in grapes have been found to significantly stop or slow the growth of tumors in Patient's colon that could possibly turn malignant. A recent study states that the colon cancer tumors can be reduced by 44% when grape seed extract is used. The extract will freeze the cell cycle and sometimes convince the cancer cell to destroy itself. So far, little is known about how much of the grape seed extract should be used in at what dosage would cause side effects. There hasnt been any research study to prove what side effects exist. So far, the research has been conducted with animals, so people should not rush out and start eating mass amounts of grape extract to prevent colon cancer. Doctors suggest that the grapes should be incorporated into Patient's diet, but should be used sparingly and not as a major deterrent for colon cancer.
Grape beverages such as grape juice and wine have been known to reduce unhealthy effects in regards to Patient's heart and circulatory system. The health-conscious public is already buying grape seeds because the seeds have more of these beneficial chemicals than the actual wine or grape juice does. Though marketed as a dietary supplement the colon cancer patient should not jump on the band wagon yet. The patient should try minimal amounts of great seeds to see if the chemicals contained within will reduce the colon cancer cells.
So far, the benefits of these chemicals where found that results depended on how much extract was used and how long it was used for. When a massive dose was used for a long duration of time 92% of rapid cell growth decreased. Once the research for the grape seed extract is complete, the treatment will be available for all cancer treatments dealing with intestinal, abdominal, or colon related cancers. The best results were shown when human colon cancer cells were placed into mice; the mice reduced their cancer or were cured. In mice that were getting high doses of grape seed extract, the colon cancer disappeared and there were no side effects. If Patient currently have colon cancer, consult with Patient's doctor before adding the grape seed extract to Patient's diet. The chemicals within the extract could diminish the effects or stop the effects of current treatment or medications. To add any exercise or dietary supplement to Patient's routine without the compilation of a doctor would be ill-advised
Dishonest Claims in the Cure of Colon Cancer
If Patient had been diagnosed with colon cancer, Patient are probably afraid and ready to try anything to find a cure or to find and alternative treatment that doesnt involve chemotherapy or the intrusive treatment of colonoscopy. By being in such a panic state, Patient can make some very serious, misguided, wrong decisions in Patient's treatment plan. If Patient find some information that claims to be a cure for colon cancer, Patient really need to research the source of the information including what kind of clinical trials have been proven to be beneficial for a cure. There are a lot of scams out there to get Patient to buy the product or to have Patient do some type of holistic treatment that in the long run will be expensive and will not work.
There has been a recent claim that onions and curry reduce the chance for colon cancer. The study concluded that a regime of eating both these types of foods will reduce the amount of polyps in Patient's coin by 60% and reduce the size of the cancerous polyps by up to 90%. Though these results look great in headlines, if Patient look behind the scenes Patient will find that the claims are a little far-fetched and not well researched. The research said that this was a small clinical trial. If Patient really look into what the research says Patient will find that it was not only a small clinical trial, but a very small clinical trial. Only five people were used as subjects in the study. The statistical data derived from the study could in no way, in any circumstance substantiate their claim. The subjects were asked to take a pill containing the chemicals that are found in both curry and in onions. The amount of chemicals they ingested was large. No human being would want to include that much onion and curry as a part of their daily diet. Unsubstantial research like this usually opens the door for drug peddlers to sell Patient onion extract or to push curry spice. Read between the lines or actually just read the research yourself. Make an informed decision and with that decision ask her doctor for guidance
Another false claim about colon cancer treatments is that Patient should invest in the use of colonics or colon cleansing herbs or medicines. Doctors agree that regular bowel movements or colon cleansing methods are not enough to deter or to prevent colon cancer. There is no one-stop, fit all solution or prevention that one can do to prevent colon cancer. The colon cleansing market has skyrocketed as rumors of cures and of prevention of colon cancer has circulated around public forums. It is just a massive advertising campaign to convince Patient to buy their product. As with other claims, look into the research and go beyond the label of the product. Use the Internet to find out what doctors think of the product and if it really does have beneficial uses in the fight against colon cancer. If Patient trust the label of a product, Patient's more likely to pay way too much money and reap too little benefits for what Patient really want from that product. Talk to Patient's doctor or specifically bring the product advertisement to him. He or she is probably more experienced with that product than Patient's untrained eye. Do not trust the clerk at the nutrition store either. They are there to sell a product and nothing more. Colon cancer is a serious threat and Patient do not want to rely on the whims of advertisers and product pushers to protect Patient from colon cancer or to help Patient cure the disease..
Statistics about Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is the most dangerous cancer for men and women in United States. According to the American Cancer Society, 55, 290 men and 57,050 women well be diagnosed with colon cancer. This means that 112,000 men and women will suffer from colon cancer this year. Out of this large number almost half will be terminal. Though the number of colon cancer deaths has dropped off in the last decade and a half, the odds of survival once contracting the disease in its advanced stages is not that good. Doctors have reasoned that the cancer rate is dropping is that more Americans are taking the advice of their doctors and pre-screenings are happening more often. The number of successful advanced treatments and other options that affect the survival rate is going up and the number of screenings per year by doctors have also increased.
The diagnoses of colon cancer at earlier stages in regards to survivability increase the probability rate to 90%. That is only when it is caught in the early stages. If it is found in the advanced stage, only 39% of colon cancer patients survive. That is why it is important to visit Patient's doctor every five years and have a colon cancer exam. The doctors have a better chance of removing the diseased polyps from the colon in the beginning stages. Once the cancer has got past the beginning stages it can spread into the liver or other vital organs. Once the cancer has reached this advanced stage very little can be done about the survivability rate. If the cancer spreads into Patient's liver, lungs, our blood Patient have less than 10% chance of living.
Recent statistics are based on the patient living up to five years after the treatment has been applied. The research points would go down if Patient extended the survivability time to 10 or 20 years. Since most colon cancer patients acquire the disease at later stages in their life, the five-year survivability rate is the best measurement tool. Most patients live beyond the five-year time limit. The results of a five-year limit may be skewed because of the advancement of new techniques and treatment of colon cancer. The patient five years ago may have a less of a chance of survival than the patient that is diagnosed today.
If Patient's concerned about colon cancer it is wise to get Patient's screening done as soon as possible. Also if Patient have reached the age of 35 and if colon cancer is a part of Patient's family history, it is vital to get the treatment ASAP. No matter what age or sex Patient are, colon cancer can creep into Patient's life at any moment. Though primarily found in the later stages of middle-aged men, both sexes are preordained to get the disease if it is in their family history. If Patient have not had Patient screening, the time is now. Dont wait! If there was no colon polyps found in Patient's colon during the screening they may ask Patient to wait for at least five years before Patient's next exam. If some cells were suspect and Patient's doctor had a concern, he might ask Patient to come back within the next one to three years. If Patient show any symptoms of colon cancer, Patient should immediately call Patient's doctor and ask for screening. The longer Patient wait to because Patient think the symptoms are part of another ailment, the less chance the doctor will be able to diagnose Patient's cancer in its early stages in the ensure the survivability rate.
Women And Colon Cancer
Most women think that colon cancer is a male disease. They are wrong in this assumption because men and women can contract the disease at an equal intensity. A lot of women will push their male partner to go and have a screening without thinking that colon cancer can also be a risk to them also. Most men avoid scheduling the screening due to the intrusive nature. Women, who are used to such exams during their yearly female examinations, will not even consider having their own colon examined. Colon cancer is not a sexist disease; it does not care if Patient are a man or woman. It is just as important for a woman to be screened for colon cancer as it is for a man.
Another misconception concerning colon cancer in women is that women should not have to be screened until age 50. This is a false claim, especially if a woman has colon cancer in her family's history. She is at the same risk as a man with colon cancer who has the disease in their family's history. The same causes of colon cancer can be found for both men and women. Poor diet that contains red meat and few vegetables will greatly increase both the women's and the man's chance for the invasion of colon cancer. Just because a woman shows no symptoms of colon cancer, which does not mean that a screening should not be done.
These same procedures to test for colon cancer are used for both men and women. The colonoscopy is the usual technique using a slender flux will tube that inserted into Patient's anus. The doctor will use a camera device through the tube to look at the inner lining of the colon to determine if polyps are there or not. A sedative is used to decrease the pain and to allow the woman to relax during the procedure. After interviewing women who have had colonoscopies it has been found that it is a more desirable screening and their annual Pap smear.
Of all the types of cancer, colon cancer is the third leading killer of human beings no matter what sex or race Patient are. It is not discerning at all between socioeconomic standards or how Patient's raised. Out of the 120,000 cases of colon cancer in America, just about half that number is women. Out of the 56,800 people that die of the disease each year, around 25,000 of them are women.
There are several types of screenings that are available for both men and women. A simple less intrusive way to check Patient's colon's health on a yearly basis is in a occult blood test. Another screening that is a little more intrusive is to have Patient's doctor perform a lower G.I. series and find out if polyps are emerging. Most people avoid the colonoscopy. Though it is not comfortable it is the best way to discover if Patient have polyps inside Patient's colon and this may even save Patient's life. The price of discomfort and possible embarrassment is affordable when Patient think about the lives of Patient's husbands, sons, and daughters as they would have to go through their lives without a mother or wife.
Side Effects of Colon Cancer Chemotherapy
If surgery did not halt the advance of colon cancer polyps cells within Patient's colon, chemotherapy may be the next solution. The chemotherapy is a treatment technique that uses medications and chemicals to halt the advance of cancer. Though there are successes in many chemotherapy attempts dealing with colon cancer, the side effects of chemotherapy can cause the patient to undergo both physical and emotional distress. Dealing with the side effects is sometimes harder than dealing with the chemotherapy itself. Each side effect is distinct and has different remedies in which a person may deal or at least cope with its specific effect on their daily lives.
Fatigue is one of the most reported side effects of chemotherapy. The symptom may show itself by making it hard getting out of bed, or more often, it is a sense of being tired all the time and not wanting to do anything. Even if Patient get enough sleep, fatigue will interfere with Patient's day as Patient try to find some relief from the tiredness. The best way to overcome the side effect of fatigue is to balance Patient's day. A balance of rest and activity is important due to Patient's weakened state. The individual must prioritize their tasks. The important tasks should be done before the less important ones. One must get up in the morning and think about their day and decide which tasks are important during daily activities and how to minimize those exercises that dont fit Patient's daily tasks. If the fatigue is really messing with Patient's emotional and physical safety, consult Patient's doctor and having him prescribe drugs that may act as an amphetamine to Patient up a little bit so that Patient can perform Patient's daily routine.
Another side effect of chemotherapy is diarrhea. Everyone has had a bad experience of having loose bowels or the uncontrollable urge to use a restroom when it is not very convenient. Diarrhea will leave Patient dehydrated and weak. If the diarrhea becomes excessive see Patient's doctor so that they may prescribe Patient drugs or medicines that will slow or prevent the diarrhea from happening. If anything beyond Patient's ordinary output of stools is noticeable, the doctor should be notified. Patient should follow the advice to stop the flow or the frequency of defecating. If Patient are having massive diarrhea, try to limit Patient's meals or eat something with a more liquid base. Do not increase Patient's diet until the diarrhea stops for at least 24 hours. If Patient begin to eat before the diarrhea stops Patient are just adding fuel to the fire and will not cure the side effect.
Along with the diarrhea may become a feeling of nausea and vomiting. The vomiting and nausea can be prevented by a simple use of drugs before the chemotherapy session begins. Just as with people who have travel sickness, a simple over-the-counter drug can be used to eliminate the feeling of being sick or the overwhelming urge to vomit. Patient's doctor can prescribe a prescription for drugs that can relieve Patient's inclinations for nausea or prevent vomiting during the course of Patient's treatment. While under chemotherapy always heed the doctors advice and never try home cure or alternative medicine without his advice. Nausea can be a state of mind in which simple precautions can be made against it. If Patient feel overwhelmed by the side effect, sit or lay down until the feeling is over.
Colon Cancer Prevention
Though colon cancer is equally as dangerous for men as it is for women, the prevention of colon cancer is as different as night and day for both sexes. A recent study discusses that if a man eats moderate amount of vegetables particularly spinach, lettuce, and cabbage, that the chance that he will have colon cancer will go down significantly. The study also adds that a dietary regiment of vegetables and fruits are part of a man's daily intake of food. In the course of daily meals, the vegetables and fruits should be more abundant and then a red meat or other fatty food. Both vegetables and fruits are known to be packed with cancer fighting compounds and fiber that will help decrease the chance of acquiring colon cancer polyps.
While no significant data has been presented, the idea that fruits and vegetables reduce colon cancer has been around for decades. The sample size of the study concentrated on over half a million men and women aged 50 to 71. Out of this half a million, almost 3000 developed colon cancer. When these subjects were interviewed about their daily diet, it was found that only one or two servings of fruits and vegetables a day, accounted for 20% of the men who have colon cancer. Men who ate two or more servings a day of fruits and vegetables were at a significantly lower risk than the others. Vegetarian men who had eat large intakes of vegetables during the day reduced their chances of colon cancer by 18%. Ironically, women who ate more fruits and vegetables had a higher risk of colon cancer than women who did not eat as much fruits or vegetables. The researchers report that the results for women might be skewed because women report eating healthier when in actuality, they really do not.
Now here is the good news for women. A Japanese study reports that drinking three or more cups of coffee a day can reduce colon cancer risk by half. In a sample size of around 100,000 men and women between 40 and 69 years old and during a 12 year research time, they found that the benefit did not include men. Even by putting into the factors of exercise, diet, and other health related issues, the caffeine produced by three or more cups of coffee still reduce the chance for a woman to acquire colon cancer. The report did mention that the researchers were not sure that it was the caffeine in coffee or that other compounds contained within the coffee might be responsible for the reduction of colon cancer. They also stated that women who drink 3 cups of coffee a day had better chances of not acquiring colon cancer than women who drank no coffee at all. They have proved from past studies that the caffeine within the coffee stimulates the colon and the cells within the colon to counteract any negative cell division that might be going on due to polyps or malignant tumors.
Still with the results of both of these research papers it would not be advisable to run out and buy massive amounts of coffee are to go to the local grocery and stock up on fruits and vegetables. As with all research, more research needs to be done to make sure that the preliminary research is well founded. Drinking coffee in moderate amounts and also adding more roughage to Patient's dinner is always advisable for good health. It is ill advised to change Patient's daily eating routine without consulting Patient's doctor.
Stage And Treatment
Colon cancer is diagnosed in stages. These stages run in numbers from zero to six and the higher the number the more serious the cancer is. Each stage has a treatment which will best remove the cancer or at least stop the growth of the mutating cells. Doctors can look at the colon cancer and determine what stage it is and best recommended treatment that is best for Patient.
In Stage 0, the cancer has not grown beyond the inner lining of the colon. The treatment regiment usually is surgery in which the polyp is removed and a biopsy by a pathologist is performed. The cancer will be cut from the inner lining of the colon wall and then the hole will be sewn up so the healthy tissue can again rejoin.
In Stage 1, of colon cancer, the cancer is noticeable. The cancer is not only on the surface of the tissues of the colon, but it has grown into two or three layers beneath the surface. Again surgery is the best treatment for the colon cancer, and once the polyps are removed, there is usually no other treatment required
In Stage 2 cancer, Patient's cancer had spread beyond the wall of the colon and has infected the nearby tissue of the lymph nodes. If the cancer has not affected the lymph nodes, then again the surgery is the best treatment for Patient's condition. If the doctor thinks that the cancer might come back, radiation or chemotherapy might be recommended. Radiation is usually recommended before chemotherapy, but surgery is the best option at this point.
Stage 3 colon cancer is more advanced. Patient's cancer has definitely spread to the lymph nodes but has not yet spread to the other part of the body which would make it a complicated treatment. Radiation therapy will definitely be suggested and the dosage of the radiation will be bigger, so that it can not only stop the cancer within Patient's colon, but also the outside lymph nodes.
Stage 4 colon cancer means that Patient's cancer has spread to other organs such as Patient's liver, lungs or blood. In women, the cancer can spread to the ovaries. Surgery is still the first option, but usually, if the cancer has spread to the liver or other organs chemotherapy will have to be applied. It is according to how many polyps or cancer cells are present that determine Patient's survivability chances or the return more cancer. At this stage, the colon cancer will have to be treated as well as the other organs. If the cancer is spreading to the blood a system the need for testing for other types of cancer to arise will have to be more frequent. Though the survivability rate has increased within the last few decades, stage four cancer is a very is serious stage in which the patient and the doctor m must make proper preparations in the event for either negative or positive results. There are special cancer centers and specialized hospitals that can help patients with stage four cancer. They also are equipped with the latest equipment and techniques as well as family counseling and grief counseling. At stage four cancer Patient are more likely to be working with a team of specialists and Patient's local doctor. Though Patient have stage four cancers, do not give up hope, many patients survive and live normal, happy lives.
Colon Cleansing and Colon Cancer
Every magazine that Patient pick up and every time Patient turn the television, Patient are bombarded with ads for colon cleaning supplements and ways to prevent colon cancer. The products promise amazing results that go anywhere from increasing Patient's daily life activity to diminishing the chance of colon cancer to 0%. These claims are absolutely false. No colonic treatment and or colon cancer product can take away any chance of Patient contracting colon cancer. The advertisements are all about selling products that have little health benefits whatsoever.
Some of the advertisements and propaganda that these marketing companies used to affect Patient's buying whims use medical jargon and sometimes use even medical fact to sway Patient's opinion. One of the falsehoods that they put out is that regular bowel movements are not enough to clear out the colon. If Patient are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and have roughage in Patient's diet, Patient's bowel movements are sufficient enough to clean out all the toxins that would cause colon cancer. Of course nobody needs residues of red meat and undigested mucous buildup along colon walls. This of course is the breeding ground for polyps or tumors to grow as the cancer causing substance may cause irritation that would start a colon cancer growth. No amount of colon cleaning marketed products can clean out this area. Patient are basically wasting money and wasting Patient's time when Patient add pollutants and supplements to Patient's diet.
Another falsehood that the colon cleansing marketing people put out to the public is that a dirty colon can adversely affect the body's lymphatic system. This again is not true. The lymphatic system can only be affected once the polyp grows and becomes malignant. If the polyp grows beyond the cell wall of the colon it can affect the lymphatic nodes which are found beneath the cell walls. If Patient's body has developed polyps or tumors the colon cleansing action of these products will irritate the polyps, and probably spur uncontrolled growth that will cause the benign cancer to become malignant. Colonic enemas also known as high colonics are used to wash cancer causing substances from Patient's colon and according to the advertiser's claim reduce the risk of colon cancer. Here the colonic technician will flush large amounts of water into Patient's colon to wash away the mucous buildup. What the colonic or enema actually does is to wash away the fecal matter away from the colon wall and dislodge any loose materials between the folds within a colon. A stool softener or a laxative can act in the same manner. As any doctor will tell Patient, the continued use of laxatives will cause dehydration or move the food out of Patient's body faster than the body can absorb nutrients. This could lead Patient's body starving for vitamins and minerals that it really needs to function in a healthy manner. No matter what the advertiser's claims or what the side of the bottle tells Patient, if Patient have any worries about using these products, please consult Patient's doctor before Patient do so. Some of these products are very abrasive and can cause anal bleeding and mild discomfort. If Patient take these products in Patient's perceived best interest without consulting a doctor, Patient are probably hurting the situation more than Patient are helping it.
Colon Cancer and Missing Hormones
A recent study conducted at the Kimmel Cancer Center reported that colon cancer is a disease of missing hormones and could be treated by hormone replacement therapy. This gives hope for many colon cancer sufferers and those that have the predisposition to have colon cancer due to heredity or genetics. The researchers found that two hormones, suppress tumor growth in the colon. If the patient does not have these two hormones they are more likely to have polyps or tumors grow within the colon walls. In the beginning stages of a polyp formation in the hormones or lack of them are confused about the tumor growth and without the hormones the growth will become free to grow at will.
Whether the patient does not have these hormones or the hormones are mutated, when the conditions are right for tumor growth the lack of or the mutation of these hormones will not inhibit the growth. The research was conducted on mice. When the mice were subjected to cancer-causing agents the mice without the hormone that suppresses tumors grew tumors at a alarming rate versus the mice that did have the hormone. The lack of the hormone inhibitor resulted in both larger tumors and a greater number of tumors in the large intestines. When the hormone that suppresses tumors was injected into the mice, these mice showed very little to no polyp growth.
This insight will convert the idea that colon cancer is a heriditary disease into a new idea that it is a hormonal disease. The doctors that did the research found that this is a totally new way of thinking and could foster research that could eliminate or at least predict the susceptibility of colon cancer. The researchers plan to extend these studies to human subjects in with that their hope is to eventually use hormone replacement as a first-line treatment against colon cancer.
As with all new innovations and colon cancer therapy, the patient should be advised to consult a doctor before gaining hope that the therapy will cure them. If Patient are a current colon cancer survivor also keep in mind that the time it takes for the research to develop this into a working procedure may take upwards to 5 to 11 years. The research has to be approved by the American Medical Association, and also have a review and retest done by peers in the medical community. Many times the scientific community and the world at large will jump on the ban wagon when a new therapy proves to be beneficial in the treatment of colon cancer. Sometimes this reaction is premature and the hopes of both the doctors and their patients can be deflated as new Patient researchers find that the hormonal replacement therapy is not as good as it was originally intended to be.
The future research of hormone replacement therapy has to go through clinical trials. They research also have to have a population size that would significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer or cancer altogether before it is widely accepted. Though this new research looks promising, the reader should take the results with prudence and wait for later results. If Patient would like to consider hormonal replacement therapy speak to Patient's doctor and maybe Patient can be put on a clinical trial list..
Vitamin D and Colon Cancer
According to a recent study, people that have higher blood levels of vitamin D are less likely to get colon cancer. The researchers took blood from 500 participants in the study and compared their vitamin D levels with the occurrence of colon cancer in each subject. They compared the vitamin D levels of 179 patients who develop colorectal cancer with those of 356 participants who did not get colon cancer. The study was reinforced by a similar study done with female patients. Though the female patients study was linked to a ovarian cancer and breast cancer, the combined findings showed that men more than women with high vitamin D content in their blood had a lower incidence of colon cancer.
A secondary finding of this research found that the vitamin D content in the blood was more beneficial if Patient were in shape. Overweight are out of shape participants, even with the high vitamin D concentrations in their bloodstream showed neither as a significant deterrent for colon cancer nor a reduced risk factor. As a current or potential colon cancer patient, Patient must remember that these results are preliminary and though they have been backed by other research there is still much to go. To reap the benefits of vitamin D supplements, research suggests that Patient must be in shape. Along with a diet of fiber, specifically vegetables and fruit for men, Patient's chances for colon cancer can be reduced. The significance of how much that cancer risk is reduced is still up for speculation.
Vitamin D helps absorbs calcium. In countries where vitamin D it is low in the national diet there is a higher increase for susceptible diseases such as Ricketts or colon cancer. In countries such as the United States, where red meat is a high supplement for protein, the chance for colon cancer rises. In this population a body mechanism produces a chemical called lithocholic acid, also known as the most dangerous compound that Patient's body produces. The red meat eating population has a large amount of this compound in their bodies. If Patient would inject lithocholic acid into an animal, they are certain to get colon cancer. Vitamin D and vitamin D supplements help break down this compound
Though the use of vitamin D is not the sole component in a anti-colon cancer regiment. It can be used along with dietary changes and other lifestyle modifications. No claim to cure or the reduction of colon cancer should be the big miracle treatment. Consolation with Patient's doctor with the new amendments to Patient's nutritional balance or other methods of treating or curing colon cancer is pertinent to the successful reduction of risk or reduction of a re-occurrence of colon cancer. Make sure that the research being advertised has been reviewed by peers and also has been accepted as a treatment by the American Medical Association. The use of alternative methods of treating colon cancer is becoming more popular. Most are unproven or has had little research to prove them. When Patient read an article that describes the results of the research, try to find the original research documents. Sometimes marketers will use online articles or other venues to express the benefits of such treatments, but in reality the research will prove that the results are minimal are have not been accepted a fight be larger medical communities.
Colon Cancer And Race
Health insurance or the ability to pay for medical treatment is not a factor when it comes to minority colon cancer survivability. Doctors have found that the reason that Black and Hispanic men have a higher colon cancer rate is due to the screening test and surgical treatments that encompass the entire process. Even though there have been disparities in health insurance that has had a minor effect on the outcome of colon cancer survivability rate and minorities, the cases have been minimal.
Research has found that compared to Caucasian males Blacks had 17% more chance of dying from colon cancer. Hispanic males had the same percentage risk than that of Caucasian males. Asian males had almost 0% chance of being diagnosed with colon cancer. Doctors say that at Black and Hispanic men were more prone to accept the treatment options once the colon cancer was found, they would have a higher survivability rate and a lower risk of death. The cultural aspect of not trusting doctors, especially white doctors in America causes some minorities to not under go colon cancer screening door once diagnosed nor consider the treatment options that are available.
Patient-doctor bias is also a consideration when it comes to the disparity among minorities in relation to colon cancer. Doctors who are biased toward their patients are reluctant to offer treatment options if that doctor believes that the patient will not consider treatments. An over all consensus from the minority population is that the medical community is not to be trusted. Coupled with the primitive cultural belief that if someone touches cancer, the cancer will automatically spread. This hinders doctors from making sound judgments and informed options for their patients. The higher incidence of untreated colon cancer in Black Americans correlates with the research that shows that Black Americans have a higher negative opinion against the medical community than whites.
The economic differences between black and white patients also are a consideration in the colon cancer controversy. A higher percentage of Black and Hispanic males have little or no insurance compared to white males of the same age. Doctors suggested that universal health care while eliminate race problems and bring the percentage rates of Hispanic and Black men closer to the white man's survivability rate. Another research study implies that the diet of Hispanic and Black men is higher in fat, then the diet of Caucasian men. It is then argued if the diet and lifestyle changes are incorporated in all races, does not the percentage go down before proper prescreening and post diagnosis treatment begin? The final answer is that the Hispanic and Black populations must go beyond their belief systems and have prescreening arranged and to be compliant if diagnosed with colon cancer to adhere to the treatment that is prescribed by the doctor. As with all racial issues, the trust between races either in the community or the doctors office has to be smoothed over or decreased or the survivability rate among minority men will stay the same and will not decrease. Once both sides of the equation can see each other as a person and not a color, the medical disparity will disappear.