1. Overview & Anatomy:
Colon cancer is also known as colorectal cancer. Colon or rectum is the component of the large intestine. And, colon cancer is a specific type of cancer that develops. The majority of colorectal tumors start as tiny growths called polyps. If it is untreated, it can eventually develop into cancer. Changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, and exhaustion are all signs of colon cancer. In general, people over 50 or those with a family history of this cancer or other risk factors should get screened for colon cancer sooner. Because, early detection can improve the chances of survival.
The body’s digestive system, often known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, includes the large intestine. It is made up of the colon and rectum, and is crucial to the body to handle waste matter. The large intestine consists of the colon for the first five to six feet and the rectum for the final six inches, which ends at the anus.
There are 5 regions in the colon and rectum.
- The section of the colon that runs from a pouch called the cecum to the area close to the liver is known as the ascending colon.
- To the right of the abdomen, the cecum – here, the small intestine empties into the large intestine.
- The apex of the abdomen is crossed by the transverse colon.
- Waste is sent down the left side of the descending colon. The waste is then carried a few more inches down to the rectum via the sigmoid colon at the bottom.
- The anus is where bodily waste is driven out.
2. Where does Colorectal/Colon Cancer develop?
Although the precise cause of colorectal cancer cannot be determined, genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved. For instance, Age (over 50), a family history of the disease, a personal history of colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be primary causes. In addition, an unhealthy diet that includes processed and red meat, low fiber, and deficient diet in fruits and vegetables are some risk factors that raise the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer.
For your information, colorectal cancer often develops over a period of years. It starts with a benign growth known as a polyp. During a colonoscopy, one can notice polyps which are tiny growths that form on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Also, some polyps can eventually develop into cancer if they are not treated prior.
Once the cancerous cells have developed, they may continue to multiply and spread throughout the layers of the colon or rectum. This is the phase before invading the tissues and organs in the area. If the cancer cells are not treated on time, it will spread and this process is called metastasis. This occurs in which they separate from the initial tumor and move through the circulation or lymphatic system to create new tumors in other areas of the body.
3. Types of Colon/Colorectal Cancer:
Either the colon or the rectum might be the site of colorectal cancer’s onset. Colon cancer is subjected to rectum/colon. A form of cancer called rectal carcinoma develops in the rectus muscle. There are several types of colorectal cancer, and the treatment and prognosis may vary depending on the type. Find the below list for reference:
Approximately 96% of all cases of colorectal cancer are Adenocarcinoma as it is the most prevalent. The glandular cells that coat the inner surface of the colon and rectum give rise to adenocarcinomas. These can potentially spread to other bodily regions as well as develop in the surrounding tissues and organs.
The hormone-producing cells in the rectum and colon’s lining give rise to this uncommon form of malignancy. Since carcinoid tumors grow slowly, symptoms may not appear for many years before they develop. They may occasionally spread to other organs like the liver and lungs.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST):
The interstitial cells of Cajal – are specialized cells on the wall of the colon, give rise to this uncommon type of tumor. GISTs have the potential to spread to other areas of the body as well as to develop as well as infect the surrounding tissues and organs.
Lymphoma arises from the lymphatic system of the immune system. These tumors can form in the colon and rectum and spread to other body regions.
This is a rare form of cancer appearing in the connective tissue of the colon and rectum walls. Sarcomas can move to different areas of the body as well as expand. They can also infect the neighboring tissues and soon organs too.
Squamous cell carcinoma:
The squamous cells that border the anus give rise to this kind of cancer and it is very rare. Squamous cell carcinomas have the potential to develop, invade, and disseminate to other body regions.
4. Causes/Risk Factors for Colon Cancer:
It is our idea to get you informed about the risk factors because making better educated lifestyle and health care decisions is always a good step. Through this, you will be aware of your risk factors and discuss them with your doctor – a step that ensures a good quality of life.
Take a note about the following information that is extracted from the recent surveys.
A person with a normal risk of colorectal cancer has a 5% probability overall of having the disease. There is no such risk of passing these genetic mutations to one’s offspring. Because the majority of colorectal cancers for about 95% are sporadic. Meaning, they arise by chance after a person is born.
Inherited colorectal cancers are less frequent which is approximately 5%–10%. This results from the transmission of gene mutations or sometimes alterations from one generation to the next.
Please understand the risk factors below;
Age of the Person:
As the age of the person increases, their chance of colorectal cancer rises. In fact, young adults and teenagers can develop colorectal cancer. But those over the age of 50 account for the majority of cases. For men with this cancer, the average age of diagnosis would be 68. The same for women is 72. Additionally, the cutoff for rectal cancer in both men and women is 63 years old. This is the reason why people 65 and older with colorectal cancer confront particular difficulties.
In many parts of the world, sporadic, or non-hereditary, colorectal cancer affects black people at the greatest rates. It is unfortunate that a significant contributor to cancer-related deaths among black people is colorectal cancer. Besides, compared to women of other races, black females have a higher risk of dying from colorectal cancer. On the other hand, black males have an even higher risk than black women.
Till now, it is unclear why these disparities exist. Numerous experts advise black people to start screening with colonoscopies at age 45 as they are more likely to be diagnosed positive with colorectal cancer at a younger age.
As per the studies and the observed cases, males are more likely to get colorectal cancer than females.
If first-degree relatives such as parents, siblings, children, etc. or a large number of other family members like grandparents, aunts or uncles and so on have had colorectal cancer, then it may run in the family. Because when a family member is diagnosed with colorectal cancer before he/she is 60, this is particularly true. Also, a person’s risk of having colorectal cancer is almost doubled if they have a family history of the disease.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease:
Chronic large intestine inflammation can occur in those who have IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), such as those who have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. The possibility of colorectal cancer risk is increased. Understand that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and IBD are not the same thing. At the same time, your risk of colorectal cancer is not increased by IBS.
Adenomatous Polyps (Adenomas):
In general, the majority of polyps are referred to as adenomas and are not cancerous. Still, they can develop into colorectal cancer over time.
Individual History of Cancers:
For instance, a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer exists in those who have had ovarian or uterine cancer. This also implies to people with personal history of the disease.
Obesity and Sedentary Lifestyles:
A person’s chance of developing colorectal cancer can grow higher if they live an inactive lifestyle lacking in physical exercise. For example, such a person does little work or no regular exercise and spends a lot of time sitting down.
More red meat and processed meat consumption is correlated with an increased risk of the disease. There is also a set of other dietary determinants on the risk of colorectal cancer. However, the evidence is less clear regarding specific diets or foods that increase this risk.
According to recent studies and as already known, smokers have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than nonsmokers do.
5. Symptoms of Colon Cancer:
Please keep in mind that the signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer outlined in this section are identical to those of incredibly prevalent illnesses (that are not cancer like hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome). Therefore, it is also possible that the symptoms given below may be out of a medical condition that is not cancer. Especially, it implies for the general symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, bloating, and irregular bowel movements. Now, find the list below;
- Changed bowel habits
- Constipation, diarrhea, or a sense that the bowels are not emptying properly
- Blood in the stool
- The stool appears to be thinner or narrower than usual
- Abdominal discomfort with frequent cramps, bloating, fullness, and gas
- Loss of weight with no proper cause
- Constant fatigue
- Undiagnosed iron deficiency anemia, or low red blood cell count
6. Stages involved in the Growth of Colon/Colorectal Cancer:
Colorectal cancer has five stages, with stage 0 being the least developed and stage IV being the most advanced.
Colorectal cancer, commonly referred to as carcinoma in situ, which is the earliest stage. It means that the cancer cells are contained to the rectum or colon’s inner lining. But they have not yet migrated to neighboring tissues.
At this point, the cancer has penetrated the muscle layer and the inner lining of the rectum. But it hasn’t yet, nevertheless, affected the adjacent lymph nodes or other organs.
The cancer has penetrated the muscle layer and reached the outermost layers of the colon or rectum. Although it hasn’t spread to distant organs, it is serious. Lymph nodes nearby may or may not have picked up the infection.
Right at this stage, colorectal cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes but has not yet affected other body parts. Generally, surgery is often the major form of treatment for stage III colorectal cancer.
This is where the disease has progressed to distant organs like the liver, lungs, or other regions of the body. And, this stage is said to be the most advanced stage of colorectal cancer. Treatment options at this point might combine several sophisticated techniques.
In fact, the size and location of the tumor, its depth of penetration into the rectum, whether it has migrated to neighboring lymph nodes, and whether it has moved to other regions of the body play a role in determining the stage of colorectal cancer. Therefore, it is advised that people at average risk of the illness start screening at age 45 or earlier if they have above discussed risk factors. Because, early discovery of colorectal cancer can increase the likelihood of successful treatment.
7. How can you prevent Colon Cancer?
Different types of cancer are brought on by various factors. Even today, researchers are still trying to figure out what causes colorectal cancer and how to prevent it accurately. Unfortunately, while there is currently no known way to completely prevent colorectal cancer, there are ways to reduce your risk. Below are a few steps that can help you prevent colorectal cancer.
Regular colorectal cancer screening can aid in the early detection of cancer. Therefore, it becomes simpler to treat. For the majority of people, screening should start at age 50. If there is a family history of colorectal cancer, it may be advised to start sooner.
Have a Nutritious Diet:
Reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by eating a diet that contains fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, it is suggested to avoid red meats and processed foods.
Frequent physical exercise can lower your risk of colorectal cancer, such as brisk walking or running.
If possible, avoid or it is crucial to drink moderately when it comes to alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol in the body can raise your risk of colorectal cancer.
It is important to understand that numerous other cancers and health issues, including colorectal cancer, have been associated with smoking.
Healthy Body Weight:
A healthy weight can be maintained with a balanced diet and proper physical exercise. Being overweight or obese can raise your risk of colorectal cancer.
Understand your family’s history of cancer:
You may be more likely to get the health issue if you have a family history of colorectal cancer. If you want to take any preventive actions, discuss it with your doctor beforehand.
How Punarjan Ayurveda Treats Colon Cancer?
Punarjan Ayurveda offers a special, all-inclusive approach to dealing with the issues brought on by colon cancer that blends traditional knowledge with contemporary innovations. We want to empower people by providing compassionate care and practical solutions through age old but promising methods. At Punarjan, our team is aware of the physical and mental suffering colon cancer patients go through. The goal of our research and development team is to provide customized treatment programs that can satisfy the diverse needs of our patients.
We try to restore the dosha balance in the body and encourage natural healing by combining Ayurveda drugs, cleansing treatments, immune-boosting techniques, and dietary changes. Our therapies aim to boost the body’s general resistance system while attacking the disease-causing cells. But, treatment is just one element of our overall plan. Via our counselors, we provide steadfast support, information, and direction. Also, therapists will accompany clients on every step of this journey.
Punarjan Ayurveda practices respect to your health and adheres to traditional Ayurvedic wisdom. It provides specialty care. Let’s work together to fight colon cancer with persistence, optimism, and the Ayurvedic system of medicine.
Our Colon Cancer Survivor Stories
Is colon cancer very curable?
The curability of colon cancer largely depends on its stage at diagnosis. In the beginning stages of colon cancer (stage I), a promising cure rate exists, reaching approximately 90% survival for 5 years. In its advanced forms (stage IV), wherein cancer migrates to distant body parts, the 5-year survival rate diminishes drastically to around 14%. Let it be known that these figures are mere averages, as individual prognoses hold the power to sway. Early detection through regular check-ups is crucial for successful treatment.
How does colon cancer start?
Colon cancer originates from a benign colon growth called a polyp. Gradually, genetic alterations within these polyps trigger uncontrollable cell proliferation and the emergence of cancer. Age, familial background, diet, and lifestyle are contributing elements. By undergoing periodic screenings, it is possible to identify and eliminate polyps before malignancy ensues.
What is the biggest symptom of colon cancer?
Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, reveals itself through a myriad of symptoms, but one stands out above all others:
Alterations in bowel habits: Behold the triumvirate of diarrhea, constipation, or stool narrowing that endures beyond a mere few days.
What is the first stage of colon cancer?
Colon cancer’s initial stage, Stage I, means cancer growth that infiltrates the innermost lining of the colon or rectum without extending beyond its walls. Symptoms may not manifest during this phase, with diagnosis often resulting from routine screening tests like a colonoscopy. Crucially, regular screenings prove vital, particularly for individuals above 50 or with a family history of the ailment, as timely detection notably enhances treatment outcomes.
How long can I live if I have colon cancer?
The fate of colon cancer patients diverges significantly depending on the diagnosis stage, overall health, and assorted factors. Nevertheless, it’s imperative to grasp that survival rates are only approximations and can’t foresee outcomes for each unique case.
As per the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for localized colon cancer (stage I) is roughly 90%. Should the cancer have extended to adjacent tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes (stage III), the 5-year survival rate is about 71%. Should it have disseminated to distant body parts (stage IV), the 5-year survival rate is approximately 14%.
Does colon cancer spread fast?
No, colon cancer does not always spread fast. The rate of spread varies greatly depending on several factors, including the stage of the cancer at diagnosis and the individual’s overall health.
Is Stage 4 colon cancer curable?
Stage 4, or metastatic colon cancer, is a serious diagnosis. While it’s challenging to cure, advancements in treatments have significantly improved survival rates. As per recent studies:
The median survival rate has increased to 18-20 months with advanced chemotherapy regimens and targeted therapies.
Introducing drugs such as bevacizumab and cetuximab has correspondingly prolonged median survival periods to 20.3 months and 8.6 months.
Yet, it is vital to grasp that these represent median figures; individual consequences may significantly diverge according to overall well-being, treatment response, and other pertinent factors.