Colon cancer chemotherapy

Until just a few years ago, colon cancer (also known as colorectal cancer or large bowel cancer) was not something that was spoken of very much in polite company. For one, many people in Western society do not speak overly much about disease. Speaking of sad or uncomfortable things like sickness or cancer is often seen as a “mood killer” when in the company of others. Second, colon cancer appears in a very sensitive part of the body, one that it not often mentioned in polite surroundings. But, when new anchor Katie Couric’s husband passed away due to colon cancer, the disease received quite a bit of media coverage and attention. People realized that they were at risk for colon cancer and needed to get tested, otherwise they might end up in an early grave due to an insidious, creeping death.

So what is colon cancer, what are the symptoms and how is it treated? First, colon cancer is just what it sounds like a – a cancer of the colon. Colon cancer is a term used to describe cancerous growths appearing in the colon, rectum and appendix. Though colon cancer has only recently become a buzzword topic, it is one of the most common cancers and one of the most common causes of cancer death. In fact, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world and the third most common form of cancer (after lung cancer and breast cancer.)

Where does colon cancer come from? Colon cancer is thought to develop from polyps that are found in the colon. These polyps, while benign at first, have been shown to morph into cancerous entities. These polyps, which are shaped like mushrooms, are discovered when doctors perform a test called a colonoscopy. In this uncomfortable test, doctors pass a camera through the anus in order to study the insides of the rectum, colon and appendix.

Symptoms of colon cancer include changes in bowel habits (i.e. constipation or diarrhea), a feeling of incomplete defecation, and reduction in diameter of the stool. Changes in the shape of the stool are also an indication of colon cancer.

Doctors generally treat colon cancer in two ways – through surgery or through colon cancer chemotherapy. Doctors treat colon cancer with surgery when it is caught in its early stages. At this point in time of the disease’s lifecycle, the cancer has not metastasized or spread to other organs and it is highly curable. But when the colon cancer has spread or metastasized, colon cancer chemotherapy is likely warranted.

Colon cancer chemotherapy is used to reduce the likelihood of the cancer from metastasizing or move into other organs or parts of the body. Colon cancer chemotherapy can be used to slow tumor growth or shrink the size of the cancerous tumor or tumors, as well.

Colon cancer chemotherapy is often tired either before or after surgery. Colon cancer chemotherapy is generally only used after surgery if it is found that the cancer has spread to the body’s lymph nodes. Drugs used in after surgery colon cancer chemotherapy include fluorouracil, leucovorin and oxaliplatin. When colon cancer chemotherapy is given before surgery, it is generally used as a first line of defense. Drugs used in before surgery colon cancer chemotherapy include the aforementioned fluorouracil, leucovorin and oxaliplatin, along with bevacizumab, and irinotecan.

If you are over the age of 50, it is a great idea to get a colonoscopy once per year, even if you are not displaying any symptoms of colon cancer. Take care of your health and you will be with your family and friends for a long, healthy time to come.

Last updated on Nov 21st, 2011 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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