Colon cancer

Colorectal cancer; Cancer - colon; Rectal cancer; Cancer - rectum; Adenocarcinoma - colon; Colon - adenocarcinoma

Colon, or colorectal cancer, is cancer that starts in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum (end of the colon).

Other types of cancer can affect the colon. These include lymphoma, carcinoid tumors, melanoma, and sarcomas. These are rare. In this article, colon cancer refers to colon carcinoma only.

Barium enema

The barium enema is a valuable diagnostic tool that helps detect abnormalities in the large intestine (colon). The barium enema, along with colonoscopy, remain standards in the diagnosis of colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, and other diseases of the colon.

Colonoscopy

There are 4 basic tests for colon cancer: a stool test (to check for blood); sigmoidoscopy (inspection of the lower colon; colonoscopy (inspection of the entire colon); and double contrast barium enema. All 4 are effective in catching cancers in the early stages, when treatment is most beneficial.

Digestive system

The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.

Rectal cancer, X-ray

A barium enema in a patient with cancer of the rectum.

Sigmoid colon cancer, X-ray

A barium enema in a patient with cancer of the large bowel (sigmoid area).

Spleen metastasis - CT scan

This CT scan of the upper abdomen shows multiple tumors in the liver and spleen that have spread (metastasized) from an original intestinal cancer (carcinoma).

Structure of the colon

The large intestine is a long hollow organ lined with mucous membrane (mucosa). Muscle layers wrap around the entire length and help move food material through to the rectum.

Stages of cancer

The staging of a carcinoma has to do with the size of the tumor, and the degree to which it has penetrated. When the tumor is small and has not penetrated the mucosal layer, it is said to be stage I cancer. Stage II tumors are into the muscle wall, and stage III involves nearby lymph nodes. The rare stage IV cancer has spread (metastasized) to remote organs.

Colon culture

When polyps are discovered in a sigmoidoscopy (an inspection of the lower third of the large intestine), they are retrieved to be tested for cancer. If a large amount of polyps are found, a more thorough examination of the entire length of the large intestine (a colonoscopy) may be recommended.

Colon cancer - Series

The colon, or large intestine, is a muscular tube that begins at the end of the small intestine and ends at the rectum. The colon absorbs water from liquid stool that is delivered to it from the small intestine.

Colostomy - Series

The colon, or large intestine, is a digestive organ located in the abdomen. The large intestine begins at the end of the small intestine and extends through the rectum and anus.

Large bowel resection - Series

The large bowel [large intestine or the colon] is part of the digestive system. It runs from the small intestine to the rectum. It is made up of three portions; the ascending, transverse and descending colon. The ascending colon is sometimes referred to as the right colon; the descending colon is sometimes referred to as the left, or sigmoid colon.

Large intestine (colon)

The large intestine is the portion of the digestive system most responsible for absorption of water from the indigestible residue of food. The ileocecal valve of the ileum (small intestine) passes material into the large intestine at the cecum. Material passes through the ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid portions of the colon, and finally into the rectum. From the rectum, the waste is expelled from the body.

Colon cancer may not be talked about as often as other cancers, like breast cancer, prostate or lung cancer, but it's actually one of the leading causes of cancer deaths. It is for this reason it's very important to stay on top of your colon health. The colon is your large intestine, the long, upside -down U-shaped tube that is toward the end of the line for getting rid of waste in your body. Colon cancer can start in the lining of the intestine, or at the end of it, called the rectum. Let's try to better understand Colon cancer.You're more likely to get the disease if you're over age 60, especially if you have a family history of colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, or obesity. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol has also been found to increase your risk of getting colon cancer. Although the data are not consistent, eating red meat or processed meats may increase the risks of colon cancer as well. Lean, unprocessed red meat, may be associated with less risk. If you have symptoms, they may include pain in your abdomen, blood in your stool, weight loss, or diarrhea. But hopefully, you'll get diagnosed before you have any symptoms, during a regular screening test like a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. These tests use special instruments to see inside your colon and rectum to look for any cancerous or pre-cancerous growths, called polyps. If your doctor discovers that you do have colon cancer, unfortunately, you'll need to have a few more tests, including scans of your abdomen to find out whether the cancer has spread, and if so, where in your body it's located.So, how is colon cancer treated?That really depends on how aggressive your cancer is and how far it's spread, but usually colon cancer is removed with surgery, or killed with chemotherapy or radiation. You may get one, or a combination, of these treatments.Colon cancer is one of the more treatable cancers. You can be cured, especially if you catch it early. Spotting colon cancer when it's still treatable is up to you. If you're over age 50, you need to get screened with a colonoscopy. During this test, your doctor can find, and remove colon polyps before they have a chance to turn cancerous. And, regular physical activity and eating at least some fruits and vegetables daily, perhaps with unprocessed wheat bran, can help prevent it. If you want to prevent colon cancer, you'll also want to avoid processed and charred red meats, and smoking, and excess calories, and alcohol.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention