Bowel cancer

Bowel cancer can take years to grow and a person may not have any symptoms until the cancer is in an advanced state. For this reason it is very important to have regular colon cancer screenings done. Over 75% of patients diagnosed with bowel cancer had no symptoms at all. Most people who are susceptible for colon cancer are those who are age 50 or older. Bowel cancer can occur in either the small intestine or in the large intestine. Most cases of cancer in the large intestine are referred to as colorectal cancer, but whether in the small or large intestine, it is still bowel cancer.

Some bowel cancer symptoms can include stomach cramping, thin stools, red blood in the stools, fatigue, gas, bloating and weight loss. Research has been done to figure out what may be some of the leading causes of bowel cancer and it has shown that some risk factors include, smoking, use of alcohol, having an inflammatory bowel disease and being obese can all contribute to getting bowel cancer.

When it comes to treating any type of cancer it is important to find the cancer in the earliest stages possible. Once the cancer has been detected, the method of treatment will depend on what stage the cancer is in. In order to find the cancer in the colon it is necessary to get a colonoscopy done. People that are considered average risk are those without any of the other risk factors that are mentioned above. People who have other bowel problems, smoke, drink alcohol regularly or are obese may be instructed by a physician to have a colonoscopy performed at an earlier age. Since most people do not have symptoms until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage, there is no way of knowing whether or not you may be at risk unless you have a screening done.

A lot of people fear getting a colonoscopy because they feel that it is invasive and embarrassing. Although the procedure may not be a pleasant one, having it performed could very well save your life. If you have never had a colonoscopy your doctor will be able to explain the procedure to you. It usually involves a light sedative or for some full sedation may be required. It usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes with a little longer for the sedative to wear off in the clinic. The screening is very accurate and allows for any growths, polyps or other problems in the bowels to be seen.

If cancer is detected the most common treatment method is surgery. Surgery is performed to remove the cancer from the bowel. When a tumor is found at is earliest stage your doctor may be able to remove the tumor with a colonoscope. This is the least invasive surgery you can have when it comes to removing cancer of the colon. If the cancer is found in the later stages the doctor may perform a colon resection. This is when the part of the bowel that has the cancer is completely removed and the good parts of the intestine are sewn back together. For other people, and dependent on the case, it may be necessary to have an ostomy performed. This means that the intestine would empty waste into a colostomy bag outside the stomach instead of through the rectum. This can be a permanent or temporary surgery, again depending on the case. For those who are in later stages of bowel cancer, chemotherapy and radiation treatments may also be necessary.

In order to catch cancer at the earliest stage possible you should talk to your doctor about your risk for colon cancer and when you should began colon cancer screenings.

Last updated on Sep 23rd, 2009 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed