What is Colon Cancer?
The Colon also called the large intestine, or the bowel is part of your digestive system. It has three parts: ascending, transverse, and descending along its six-foot length.
The ascending Colon is located on the right side of your belly, next to your liver—the transverse colon loops around your stomach. The descending Colon goes straight down the middle on the upper left side of your belly. It first occurs in cells lining one of these sections.
It usually starts as a polyp growth that forms within any section of your rectum or colon walls. However, it can sometimes begin in other tissue inside the abdomen or pelvis area or even just under the skin surface.
Doctors typically order screening tests like Colonoscopies for people over 50. It can also be found at its earliest stage by noticing something unusual in your stool or during an exam.
You should call the doctor if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they’re new because detecting colon cancer early makes treatment more effective. Risk factors that increase your chance of developing Colon Cancer are age, genetics, lack of regular screenings, and family history. The majority (95%) of Colon cancers are adenocarcinomas, cancerous tumors in the Colon tissue. Colon cancer has a natural history of over 10-20 years before becoming full-blown Colon cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
What are the symptoms of Colon Cancer?
-Abdominal pain, discomfort, cramps, and bloating
-Dark stools with blood streaks or maroon color
-Feeling tired or having less energy than usual
Can Colon Cancer Cause Constipation and Diarrhea?
Yes, it can because it affects your stool by causing an obstruction, leading to constipation. The tumor that forms on the colon wall pushes up against normal bowel muscles, which results in slowed movement through your bowels. You’ll become constipated and may even develop a prolapse – when part of your Colon’s lining protrudes from the anus.
Cancer can also cause diarrhea because cancer cells can block off blood supply, resulting in tissue death. This will again lead to weakened Colon muscle function, leading to uncoordinated or incomplete Colon muscle contractions that push stool through your bowels. Cancer cells also release chemicals that trigger inflammation within your Colon wall, which will lead to pus formation. Colon cancer stool may have different colors because it can cause blockage to the lymphatic vessels, increasing pressure on other structures.
What Does Colon Cancer Stool Look Like?
Colon cancer stool is often described as narrow or ribbon-like, thin, and does not contain any fat globules causing it to be shiny. Think of what a ribbon looks like – it’s long, narrow, and stretchy instead of short, thick, and flimsy. If you’re confused about what a normal Colon should look like, visit our page, “What Should My Poop Look Like?” Pus in the stool is another sign of Colon cancer
How Does Colon Cancer Affect Your Stool?
Usually, stool passes through your Colon by the rhythmic contraction of muscles on the Colon walls. A healthy stool is formed after eaten food moves into the Colon causing water to be drawn out of it as it moves along. This affects your Colon by making your stool very dry and challenging because it makes a Colon obstructed, leading to constipation.
The longer you’ve had constipation/colon cancer, the dryer and stiffer your stools become. Colon cancer has a natural history of over 10-20 years before becoming full-blown Colon cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Colon cancer stool may have different colors because Colon cancer Colon can cause blockage to the lymphatic vessels, increasing pressure on other structures.
The Colon, or large intestine, is part of the digestive system. It begins with the Colon ascending on the right side and continues across to exit at the Transverse Colon on the left. It then descends as the Ileum; there are also connections to Mesenteries (parts of connective tissue) here.
The Colon acts as a holding chamber for stool – without it, we would become constipated (unable to go). Stool passes through this organ around five days after ingestion via fluid intake and eating/drinking food matter. The Transverse Colon allows food matter to pass over into the descending Colon for further digestion before being removed from the body through Rectum Exit.
The Colon is a large organ, and even a tiny growth can cause pain, discomfort, and sometimes lead to Colon Cancer. It can render Colon carcinoma (a mass of tissue that forms due to abnormal cell division; cancer), which can prove fatal if left untreated. Those with Colon Cancer will experience symptoms such as:
pain in the abdomen – this pain may become sharp or cramping like that experienced during menstruation
– fatigue and loss of appetite
Pain experienced may be relieved by taking gentle walks and resting; those experiencing bleeding should not attempt to control it by using medication but instead monitor blood loss and contact medical professionals about necessary steps. This bleeding could be caused by Cancer blocking the passageway of the Colon; Colon Cancer bleeding can be bright red, mixed with mucus, or contain blood clots.
– Any change in bowel (Stool) habits
– Excessive tiredness/fatigue
– Weight loss
Colon Cancer is a severe disease and should be treated by medical professionals as soon as possible for a better chance of survival. Colon Cancer stages include
Stage I Colon Cancer: this stage means that only the innermost layer has been affected. The tumor is small, and there is no spread to other organs. Surgery may remove all signs of cancer from the colon itself at this point.
Stage II Colon Cancer: It has developed into deeper layers, but no spread has occurred to other organs. Colon Cancer may be removed, but only after the surrounding areas have been tested for cancer cells and negative before removal.
Stage III Colon Cancer: The tumor cannot be removed by surgery without the risk of damage to the Colon wall and spread of Cancer to other organs. Chemotherapy treatment is used in this case, removing as much of the Cancer from the Colon as possible before administering Chemotherapy drugs.
Stage IV Colon Cancer: In this stage, Cancer has likely spread or is likely to soon enough, metastasizing (spreading) into other body parts such as lymph nodes. Treatment can involve chemotherapy and radiation therapy at this point.
Regular health check-ups with a Colonoscopy are suggested to get Cancer screening before it develops into life-threatening Colon Cancer. Colonoscopies are cancer detection tests involving using a thin, flexible tube with a camera on end to look into the Colon and take pictures. The Colon is examined for any sign of Cancer. The earlier it is detected, the better chance of survival from Colon Cancer.
It can take around ten years for symptoms to appear after cancer develops; to prevent Colon Cancer, eat more fruit/vegetables (fiber) to reduce constipation; bowel cancer screening tests should be taken every 1-2 years depending on age.
Going for regular health check-ups with Colonoscopy will help detect symptoms early enough that treatment can begin soon. Cancer can be treated with chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells. If Colon Cancer is detected via Colonoscopy at an early stage, it can be removed before it has had time to spread or metastasize into other areas of the body.