Colon cancer is one of the more common forms of cancer, even though the exact cause of it remains largely elusive. However, there are some risk factors which may put you at greater risk for developing colon cancer. Amongst them are: older age, personal history of polyps or past history of colon cancer, a family history of colon cancer, a diet low in fiber high in fat, and others.
What is known about colon or colorectal cancer is that it occurs when the cells in the interior of the large intestine or colon grow abnormally. Benign or non-cancerous polyps (small growths projecting out from the inside lining of the colon) may turn into colon cancer over time while some polyps remain benign. The expert oncologists at Wellness Oncology & Hematology suggest regular screening for colorectal cancer at age 50 for those with no family history. For those with a family history, we recommend earlier screening.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Many times patients are shocked to get a colon cancer diagnosis, because they often experience no symptoms in the early stages. Others do begin to notice some or all of the following symptoms of colon cancer.Change in bowel movements (constipation or diarrhea, or a noticeable change in the consistency of stool)
Blood in stool
Ongoing abdominal pain, gas, cramping
Weight loss with no cause
Feeling as if you cannot empty your bowels
Fatigue and/or feelings of weakness
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to call your physician and schedule and appointment immediately.
Treating Colon Cancer in Southern California
After you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, Dr. Shaye, Dr. Lashkari and Dr. Ho will take into account the size and location of the cancer before customizing a cancer treatment plan which will likely include highly targeted medication, radiation treatments, and surgery if necessary.
Surgery for Colon Cancer
If your cancer is in its early stages, small, localized in a polyp, surgery may be all that is needed to remove the cancer during a colonoscopy. Large polyps may also respond well to what is known as an endoscopic mucosal resection. For polyps that can't be removed during colonoscopy, laparoscopic surgery may be indicated. During this surgery, several small incisions will be made through your abdominal wall, so that instruments with attached cameras that display your colon on a video monitor may be inserted, and the cancer can then be removed.
If your colon cancer has progressed beyond early stages, surgery known as a partial colectomy may be required to remove the portion of your colon that is cancerous. In many cases, the healthy parts of the colon are able to be reconnected.
If your colon cancer is advanced and/or your overall health is not good, other types of surgery may be recommended to relieve you of pain, or bleeding, even if they will not remove the cancer.
Chemotherapy for Colon Cancer
Chemotherapy consists of oral or intravenous medications to help eradicate rapidly growing cells in the body. In colon cancer, chemotherapy is generally recommended after surgery if someone has been found to have stage III colon cancer. It is also recommended in certain circumstances in patients diagnosed with stage II colon cancer. Chemotherapy and now several approved targeted therapies are given to patients with stage IV colon cancer to help reduce the spread of the disease and prolong survival with improved quality of life.
Radiation for Colon Cancer
Radiation for treating colon cancer uses high energy X-rays to shrink tumors before surgery, kill remaining cancer cells after surgery, or to relieve painful symptoms associated with either colon or rectal cancer.
At Wellness Oncology, Dr. Shaye, Dr. Lashkari, and Dr. Ho will work together with you to customize a course of treatment which may include highly targeted medication, radiation treatments, and surgery if necessary to relieve you of the pain and symptoms of colon cancer, with the goal of eradicating your cancer. Our team of doctors, nurses, and research staff are dedicated to studying, analyzing, and providing courses of treatment tailored specifically to you. Taking into consideration your overall wellness, Dr. Shaye, Dr. Ho and Dr. Lashkari will explore every possibility.
Contact us today at 818.346.1773 to schedule an appointment.