Colorectal cancer is known under several different names. For this diseases doctors use terms "colorectal cancer", "colon cancer" and "bowel cancer". All these terms combine the growth of tumor in colon, rectum or appendix. In developed countries it is the third of the most common cancer types. Although the area where tumor can appear is pretty wide most often it arises from adenomatous polyps.
Colon cancer symptoms can include such things as presence of blood in stools and all kinds of change in everyday bowel habits. But other colon cancer symptoms can be not so obvious. One of the pretty rare colon cancer symptoms is enlarged liver. All that means that in some cases it can be really hard to recognize colon cancer symptoms and to diagnose colon cancer.
But there are certain colon cancer risk factors. The main factor is age -- the biggest number of patients with colon cancer is aged over 60. Cases of cancer in the past can also be one of the possible colon cancer risk factors. For example, if a woman has had breast cancer in the past then there is a higher risk of colorectal cancer.
So, all the people from a group of high risk of colorectal cancer should perform screening and monitoring procedures regularly. That will allow finding out colon cancer symptoms on earlier stages of disease (and that would give higher chances of cure).
For the screening of colon cancer different procedures are used in modern medicine. But probably the most usual procedure in that case is colonoscopy. Special fiber glass tube called "colonoscope" is being inserted into rectum and the colon to perform observation. If any abnormalities or polyps are found during this procedure they can be easily removed. During this procedure tissue samples can also be taken for biopsy.
Colon cancer staging depends on the level of local invasion. The level affection to lymph nodes and presence of metastasis (at that stage cancer can travel into distant sites of the body). The most usual system used to describe staging of colon cancer is called TNM (Classification of Malignant Tumors). But along with this new system in many hospitals old Duke's system for colon cancer staging is still used.
The most widely used and the most effective way of colon cancer treatment is surgery. If the tumor is local it can be completely removed. Of course, that highly depends on the stage of colon cancer. If colon cancer took more advanced stages much wider surgery might be needed - in many cases a section of colon is removed. But surgery is not usually used on the stage when metastasis is present.
For treatment of these stages of colon cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used. Sometimes a combination of methods can be used to give better results. For example, development of metastasis and growth of tumor can be reduced with chemotherapy and after that tumor can be surgically removed. Radiation therapy can be used before the surgery and after it as well. But this method is not so widely used because radiation can lead to radiation enteritis.