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Colon Cancer

Treatment on the Gulf Coast

Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. and almost 140,000 people will receive colon cancer diagnoses in the United States this year alone. Located in Mobile and across the Gulf Coast, Infirmary Cancer Care has been successfully treating cancer patients for decades. With state-of-the-art equipment at our facilities and specialists in colon cancer, our team can help you defeat colon cancer and get back to normal life. Schedule an appointment today to speak with one of our specialists to learn more and begin the treatment process.

Begin your fight against colon cancer here! Call (251) 435-2273.

What Is Colon Cancer?

The colon, or long intestine, is a critical part of the digestive system. Colon cancer usually begins through the formation of polyps in the large intestine. These cells can sometimes begin growing uncontrollably and become colon cancer. Colon cancer may not have any symptoms at first. Therefore, it is important to get screened regularly. However, as cancer progresses, a patient may begin to develop rectal bleeding, fatigue, unexplainable weight loss, intestinal discomfort/gas and unexplained changes in bowel habits such as constant diarrhea or constipation. A consistency change in stool or a narrowing of the stool can also be a sign of colon cancer.

As with most cancers, those with poor general health habits are at a greater risk of developing this cancer. Thus, individuals who smoke, are overweight or eat a high-fat diet or drink excessively have a higher risk. Those individuals with certain gene mutations or who have a family history of colon polyps may also be at a higher risk of developing this cancer. Elderly people and African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews have also been shown to have a higher risk than the general population.

Diagnosis & Staging

Early diagnosis is critical to successful outcomes from a cancer diagnosis and regular screening for colon cancer can be a helpful prevention tool or allow for early diagnosis. Individuals should be screened for colon cancer using a colonoscopy every five to10 years after they turn 50 depending on their family and medical history and risk. Colonoscopies are performed by inserting a diagnostic tool through the rectum to examine the colon and remove any polyps found before they can develop into cancer. Polyps are usually tested for cancer once removed. Other ways that individuals can be screened for cancer is through stool DNA kits, fecal Immunochemical tests, Guaiac Fecal Occult Blood Test, virtual X-Ray colonoscopies and Flexible Sigmoidoscopy.

If you are about to be screened, click here for guidance on preparing for a colonoscopy.

Once cancer has been diagnosed through one of these methods, a doctor will then analyze the stage of your cancer based on how far it has spread and how aggressively it is growing. The American Cancer Society usually stages colon cancers on a scale of 0 to 4 with 0 being the earliest stage of cancer and stage 4 being an end-stage, aggressive growth cancer. Individual diagnoses vary greatly for patients depending on how early the cancer was caught, the treatment received and the individual’s overall health at the time of diagnosis.

Prevention & Treatment

As already stated, frequent screening and removal of polyps are critical in preventing colon cancer. However, healthy life habits such as a good diet that consists of plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as exercise, can greatly reduce the risk of cancer. Also, abstention from smoking can help prevent colon cancer.

If you are diagnosed with colon cancer, your doctor and treatment team will work with you to formulate a plan to give you the best possible outcome. Treatments for colon cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy for colon cancer works to target the genetic abnormalities in cancer cells and attack only the cancer cells. This type of treatment has tremendous benefits as it attacks merely cancer and does not affect surrounding healthy cells. While having some side effects such as fatigue, high blood pressure, diarrhea and skin irritation, these targeted therapies are more effective than other treatments because they use certain proteins to attack the growth mechanisms of cancer. Discuss with your doctor and treatment team whether these types of targeted therapies would work for you.

Contact us to receive more information about colon cancer treatments.

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