Colon Cancer Detection
Colon cancer detection is the foremost step to colon cancer treatment. Colon is the lowest part of the bowel and plays a fair role in proper food digestion. Its main function is to extract the salt and water from the solid wastes generated in the body before they are passed on for elimination. Colon also helps to absorb vital fat soluble vitamins and potassium.
Why is colon cancer detection important?
Colon cancer is treatable if detected in the initial stages. The cancer has a tendency to metastasize and may infect other adjacent vital organs like bowel and rectum. Colon cancer is caused due to formation of tumors in the colon. The tumors can be benign or pre-cancerous in the initial stages and may turn cancerous if ignored for a long period.
In most of the cases, the benign tumors appear quite similar to the cancerous ones. Hence, a thorough detection and diagnosis of such tumors is very important. The cancerous cells primarily target the healthy tissues and cells present in the inner lining of the colon. They force the normal cells to behave abnormally and leads to formation of tumors.
Tumors have a high tendency to metastasize and may infect other vital organs of the body in a very short period. Hence, detection of such tumors right in the initial stages is very important. Early detection increases the chances of eliminating tumors safely and reliably and minimizes the chance of their recurrence.
Colon cancer can be primary or secondary in nature. Primary colon cancer originates in the colon itself and infects other areas of the victim's body at a later stage. The tumors may spread gradually or rapidly depending upon the immune system of the victim. Secondary form of colon cancer is the one in which the malignant cells develop in other areas of the body and reach the colon after the tumors begin to metastasize.
It is very important to know the nature and intensity of tumor as the colon cancer treatment is different for primary and secondary tumors. Also, the abnormal cells grow and spread in different patterns and infect the body with different intensities. Hence, detection of the form of colon cancer is very important.
How to undergo colon cancer detection?
Various advanced detection techniques are available worldwide to detect cancerous growth in the colon. The pattern of diagnosis usually depends on the stage of colon cancer and the intensity of metastasis.
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) is one of the most common detection techniques to detect presence of cancer cells in the colon. Though the technique is beneficial to detect only the large tumors, it can be used as a reliable screening test to detect colon cancer. Endoscopy is another prime test in which the tumors are detected by passage of tube into the body to check for tumor growth in the colon of adjacent areas.
Colonoscopy is a form of detection technique in which a colonoscope is inserted in the body to detect polyps and other cell irregularities. This test is also important because the polyps can be removed immediately if found during the test provided the tumors are not very intense or metastasized.
Sigmoidoscopy is another important test in which an instrument called sigmoidoscope is inserted in the victim's body to detect cancerous tumors. Sample of tissues can also be taken for biopsy and pre-cancerous or cancerous tumors may also be removed if detected during the test. This again depends upon the nature and severity of the tumors.
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is one of the principal tests to detect hidden polyps in the stools. The test can be conducted in two different ways as guaiac and immunochemical FOBT. In the former type, a chemical guaiac is used to detect an iron-containing element called heme in the stool. In the later type, some sorts of antibodies are used to detect heme in stools. These tests benefit the victim in early detection of cancerous development in the colon.
Virtual colonoscopy is a kind of detection technique in which the pictures of colon are produced using special kind of X-rays. The test is also known as computerized tomographic colonography. It is very useful to detect polyps in the colon and adjacent areas.
When to undergo colon cancer detection?
Colon cancer is a kind of cancerous development in the colon. Hence, it directly affects other areas of the digestive system like the rectum and the bowel. Thus, any abnormalities in these areas are the prime indications to undergo a thorough detection test for colon cancer. Improper bowel movements and difficulties in swallowing food are the prime symptoms of cell abnormalities in the colon or connecting areas.
Blood in stools, severe pain in the lower parts of the stomach that do not cure by normal medication, complications in food digestion, diarrhea, anemia and frequent fatigue are also some of the important indicators of the presence of tumor cells in the colon. Weight loss, abdominal pains and loss of appetite are some other warnings to go for detection of tumors and other cell abnormalities in the colon.
Colon cancer usually occurs after the age of 50 years and is equally common in both men and women. Carrying out the detection tests at least once in two years can considerably decrease the risk of being prone to the disease. Personal or family history of colon cancer makes a person more susceptible to cancerous attack in the colon. Such persons should be more particular about regular physical examinations. Persons suffering from Human Papillomavirus (HPV), AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and other sexually transmitted diseases should be more careful about their health concerns and consult a physician immediately in case of any abnormalities in the colon or other areas.
Colon cancer detection is fruitful only when detected using proper detection techniques and under thorough medical supervision. It is one of the most common causes of cancer-deaths worldwide. Hence, proper and timely detection of colon cancer is extremely important to curb colon cancer-deaths.