Colorectal or Colon cancer is a malignant tumour that generates from the inner wall of the colon that is known as the large intestine. This organ lies in the lower part of the digestive system of the human body. Colon cancer develops in 4 stages, and it needs proper diagnosis and colorectal treatment planning.
Diagnosis of colon cancer
Doctors suggest people having no signs of colon cancer rather than digestive problems to opt for certain screening tests. These tests are recommended to diagnose this cancer at its earliest stage. If this cancer is detected, at its stage, there is a good chance of recovery through proper colon cancer management. In general, colon cancer is inherited or genetically mutilated. Persons crossing their 50s have chances of having this cancer as after this age the digestive system weakens. Based on the results of screening tests, if the doctor finds that you have the signs and symptoms of this disease, then he/she will recommend the following test. One needs to complete these tests and share the report with the cancer specialists.
- Colonoscopy: Colonoscopy is a technique to examine the inside of your colon. Here a long, lean, and flexible tube is used along with a video camera to observe the entire colon as well as the rectum. During this supervision, if doctors find any suspicious area, then they collect tissues as a sample from that area and go for surgical removal of the colon. This process is known as biopsies.
- Blood Test: Though a blood test does not mention that a person has colon cancer. But it helps to diagnose the overall physical state of the suspected colon cancer patient. Doctors will understand the kidney and the liver function of that person.
Who all are involved in the treatment of colon cancer patients?
In cancer care, treatment there is a team of doctors who need to work together to decide the patient’s compact treatment plan. Colon Cancer treatment involves different types of treatments. The doctor’s team needs to be multidisciplinary. For treating a patient with colorectal cancer, there is a need for a surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, and a gastroenterologist. Various parameters need to be checked to start the treatment and so the involvement of specialists from different branches are required for colon cancer treatment.
Different stages of colon cancer
If an individual is diagnosed with colon cancer, then the doctor will recommend necessary tests to determine the extent or the stage of colon cancer. Depending on which stage the patient is, the doctor will suggest the procedure of treatments. Tests that are mainly recommended by doctors are Chest, abdominal, and pelvic CT scan.
Five stages of colon cancer are there, and it ranges from stage-zero to stage-four. At stage zero, cancer remains restricted to the inner part of the colon. At stage-four, it reaches the advanced level and spreads to attack other important organs of the body.
Treatment of colon cancer at various stages
Doctors recommend the treatments for colon cancer depending on the stage at which this disease is for the patient. Normally colon cancer resection or surgery is done if cancer has not reached other parts of the body.
Treatment at stage zero
At this stage, the surgery of the colon is the only treatment. It is so because, in this stage, cancer remains inside the lining of the colon. In this treatment, the polyp or the infected area is taken out, with the help of a colonoscopy. Sometimes, if it is found that the cancer is too big, then partial colectomy will be executed.
Treatment at stage one
At this stage, the colon cancers go deeper into the lining of the colon. But, still, at this level, it doesn’t spread outside of the colon. In this stage, cancers spread at certain parts of the polyp. Hence, during endoscopy, the infected polyp is entirely removed, and no other treatments are required, after the removal of the polyp.
Treatment at stage two
If a patient is detected with colon cancer at stage-two, then doctors may recommend adjuvant chemotherapy that is chemo after surgery. In this stage, the cancers grow through the entire wall of the colon and sometimes spread to nearby tissues. Hence, adjuvant chemotherapy is mainly recommended as the only stage 2 colon cancer treatment if doctors find that there is a chance of cancers to revive back. This situation may occur in the following cases:
Once viewed closely, cancer looks very abnormal
The nearby lymph or blood vessels are getting infected
At least 12 lymph nodes have not been removed by the surgeon
The colon is blocked by the cancer
Perforation has been caused in the wall of the colon by the cancer
Here the doctors will recommend other tests such as MSI or MMR to check the tumour in case of anything else suspected.
Treatment at stage three
At this stage, cancer spreads to the nearby lymph nodes but not to other areas of the body. The standard treatment for this stage is the removal of infected sections of the colon along with adjuvant chemotherapy. Sometimes, the parts of the colon cannot be removed completely by surgery at this advanced stage. Here doctors recommend chemoradiation treatment to restrict the spread of cancer and can be removed afterward by surgical procedure.
Treatment at stage four
Here colon cancer spreads to other organs like the liver, lungs, etc. If small areas of the liver or lungs are infected, then surgery can be beneficial for the patient to live longer. The rate of survival is comparatively less than the above 4-stages, but still longevity of the patient can be increased with treatment if not a full cure.
Cost of colon cancer treatment
As per various research works, the colon cancer treatment cost is calculated by using the difference-indifferences method. The result shows that the total cost per colon cancer patient may vary to the extent of $29,196. It’s the stage of cancer, which is one of the determining factors about the prospective cost of the treatment.