3 Popular Colon Cancer Treatments
Colon cancer (also known as bowel cancer or colorectal cancer) is any cancer that affects the final part of the digestive system (usually the colon or rectum). It starts of as a polyp (fleshy growth) in the colon which then becomes cancerous and starts to multiply uncontrollably. Bowel cancer is believed to cause over 16,000 deaths in the UK each year and is one of the most common cancer types. However, it can be treated and in this article I will be outlining three of the most effective colorectal cancer treatments.
1) SURGERY – This is one of the most popular colon cancer treatments particularly if the cancer is still in the early stages. The aim of surgery is to remove the cancerous cells from the bowel. Generally, the side effects of colorectal cancer surgery are minimal. You may experience some pain or eating problems post surgery but this generally goes away a few days after the surgery. However, in some cases colon cancer surgery will lead to more significant side effects such as bleeding, sexual problems and the need for a permanent colostomy (a surgical procedure where part of the colon is connected to the abdominal wall).
2) CHEMOTHERAPY – This type of colorectal cancer treatment involves using drugs that can kill cancer cells. It may be used as an alternative to surgery, particularly if the colon cancer has become more advanced and surgery is no longer an option. It may also be used before surgery to shrink the tumour (so that there is less chance of complications during surgery) or after surgery (to eliminate any cancer cells that the surgery may have missed and to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back). There are a number of side effects related to chemotherapy including nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea and hair loss. However, these side effects should subside when your chemotherapy treatment ends.
3) RADIOTHERAPY – This type of bowel cancer treatment involves using high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells. There are two types of radiotherapy; internal (where radioactive material is placed directly into the tumour) or external (where radioactive beams are aimed at the tumour). Generally, radiotherapy is not a popular colorectal cancer treatment with surgery and chemotherapy usually given priority. However, in some cases it may be used instead of surgery, especially if the cancer has become too large for surgery to treat effectively. It may also be used in conjunction with chemotherapy to help shrink tumours in the colon before surgery. The side effects of radiotherapy usually only affect the area being radiated and are therefore specific to that part of the body. Like with chemotherapy, any side effects of radiotherapy normally disappear once the treatment stops.
Being diagnosed with bowel cancer may come as a shock to you. However, the good news is that there are treatment options available. This article has discussed three of these options briefly but to get the overall picture you should go and see your doctor. They will be able to fully explain all the options available to you and give a professional opinion on the treatment which is most suitable.
Whilst every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative, it is intended for general information only. Colon cancer is a very serious, life threatening condition and you should discuss any concerns, treatments or lifestyle changes fully with your doctor.