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Colon Cancer

Usually, colon cancer first appears in the large intestine (colon) which is the end of digestive system.


Anyone can develop colon cancer at any age, even though it most frequently affects older people. The inside of the colon frequently develops tiny, benign (non-cancerous) cell groupings known as polyps as the earliest symptoms of the illness. Some of these polyps might ultimately turn into colon cancer. Because of this, medical professionals advise routine screening exams to help avoid colon cancer by locating and eliminating polyps before they develop into cancer.


There are various therapies available to help manage colon cancer, such as surgical intervention, radiotherapy, and medication such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.


Doctors use staging as a general guideline to establish the stage of cancer to create the best treatment plan for you. The stages are described as follows:


Stage 0: This condition, also described as carcinoma in situ, refers to abnormal cells that are restricted to the rectum or colon's inner lining.

Stage 1: Cancer has already progressed to the muscle layer and the mucosa of the colon or rectum.

Stage 2: Cancer has metastasized to the colon or rectum's walls, or has penetrated the walls and reached surrounding tissues.

Stage 3: The illness has progressed toward the lymph nodes but has not yet reached other body organs.

Stage 4: Distant organs such as the lungs or liver have also been impacted.




Different cell types can develop into cancer, and certain types of cells in various regions of the digestive system can result in colon cancer. The majority of instances of colon cancer, as determined by the ACS, are adenocarcinomas.


Other forms of tumors, less typically, cause colon cancer, including:


  • Lymphomas - These first form in the lymph nodes or the colon.
  • Carcinoids -These start forming in cells that make hormones within your intestines.
  • Sarcomas - These develop in soft tissues like muscles of the colon.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors: These begin as benign and then evolve into cancerous.




Among the symptoms and warning indications might be one or more of the following:


  1. Constipation or diarrhea
  2. Blood in the stool, which can cause feces to appear dark brown or black bright red bleeding from the rectum
  3. Weakness and exhaustion
  4. Unexplained weight loss
  5. Inflammatory bowel disease
  6. Anemia due to a lack of iron




The causes of these symptoms are several. Don't dismiss it as anything small, such as a hemorrhoid. Find out more by speaking with your doctor.


Most likely, your doctor will do a rectal examination. A long, flexible tube is inserted into your rectum during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to examine the inside of your colon for any malignancies or growths that might develop into cancer.


Regular colorectal cancer screenings should begin at age 45 for individuals with an average risk of developing the disease, according to the American Cancer Society and the United States Preventive Services Task Force. Ask your doctor when to begin testing if you have a higher risk.


90% of people with colorectal cancer who receive a diagnosis before it has spread live at least five years after that.


Risk factors:


Although there are several possible risk factors, the precise causes of colon cancer remain unclear. The following are the risk factors:


  1. Precancerous polyps that grow in the large intestine can lead to colon cancer.
  2. Adenomas may resemble the healthy colon's lining, but they will look different when examined under a microscope. They may grow to be cancerous.
  3. Hyperplastic polyps sometimes cause colon cancer but they are normally benign growths.
  4. Uncontrolled cell proliferation can happen as a result of genetic damage or DNA alterations.
  5. Colon cancer risk is significantly increased with age. Nearly 90% of those who are told they have colorectal cancer are older than 50.
  6. People who smoke, lead sedentary lives, and are overweight are more prone to get colon cancer.
  7. Nutrition and diet are crucial to the development of colon cancer.


The most often used treatment for colon cancer is surgery. There are various operations and methods for colon cancer:


  • A polypectomy removes malignant polyps.
  • Partially removing the colon is referred to as colon resection surgery.
  • Colostomy and surgical resection: Similar to a colectomy, this procedure involves cutting off the tumor-containing portion of your colon. However, they are unable to join healthy colon portions during this procedure. They do a colostomy instead. Your colon is transferred to an opening in your abdominal wall during a colostomy procedure so that your feces can be collected in a bag.



Many colorectal cancer survivors lead regular lives. The therapies that are now available have high success rates, but to have the best chance of preventing a cancer recurrence, you may need a series of treatments or a combination of surgical intervention, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Any alterations in your health should be reported to your doctor. This will assist him or her in determining if you require additional screening procedures or medical care.

Dr. Azhar Perwaiz
Meet The Doctor
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