Colon cancer is a disease that affects the colon and rectum. Special studies in that area show that there are certain factors that can increase the risk of colon cancer or colorectal cancer as it is also called. The risk of colon cancer increases with age - most of the cases of colon cancer are registered in patients between 60 and 70 years old.
Smoking also increases the risk of the disease - it was clearly shown that patients who smoked were 40% more likely to die from colon cancer. And there are certain products that can lead to colon cancer so diet can be one of the reasons for the disease. It is necessary to avoid so-called carcinogens (which can be of natural or artificial origin).
There are different symptoms that can be a sign of possible colon cancer. These symptoms include constipation, change in the caliber of stools, cases of bowel obstruction (although they appear pretty rare), unexpected loss of weight and many others. There are many symptoms that are not specific for cancer, which makes it hard to perform colon cancer diagnosis. So, the main instrument in colon cancer diagnosis is colon cancer screening.
In fact, colorectal cancer can develop for several years and colon cancer diagnosis at earlier stage makes treatment more successful. Two types of endoscopy (sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy) are the most common ways to perform colon cancer diagnosis. That way colon can be examined for different abnormalities. This procedure also allows taking samples of tissues for colon cancer prognosis using biopsy. And different polyps where colon cancer can appear can also be removed during colonoscopy.
Staging of colon cancer differs by the level of local invasion of tumor, the extent to which it affected lymph node and extent of metastasis. All these stages are usually described with common cancer staging system, which is called TNM.
For treatment of colon cancer surgery is used in most cases. It gives wonderful results and at earlier stages of disease it allows to remove the entire tumor. But if metastasis is already present surgery won't give appropriate results. In that case surgery can be combined with one of the other techniques: chemotherapy of radiation therapy. Usually chemotherapy is used to lower metastasis before the surgical operation.
And of course, as in treatment of other cancer type these two methods can also be used separately. But the use of radiation therapy in treatment of colon cancer is reduced because there is a possibility of undesirable side-effect like radiation enteritis. And it is also not that easy to target radiation beams correctly.
And in fact, there are certain measures that can be taken to prevent colon cancer - special diet and healthy lifestyle will low the risk of the disease. Different studies show that low physical activity increases the risk of colon cancer so it is recommended to lead an active life. It is also possible to use so-called chemoprevention - different agents like aspirin or folic acid can significantly lower the process of carcinogenesis.
In the final analysis, self-examination and regular check-ups with your doctor are your best line of defense.