Diagnosing and Treating Bowel Cancer
Bowel cancer can occur in the rectum or the colon. The disease is divided into different stages, and each stage has different treatment options.
- Bowel cancer occurs when malignant cancer cells form in the colon. Several things can cause bowel cancer. If a person has blood in their stool, their doctor can perform diagnostic tests. The tests can examine the rectum and colon. The colon is an important part of the digestive system. A healthy digestive system processes nutrients and removes waste. The intestines, stomach and esophagus are part of the digestive system.
- Some people are more likely to be diagnosed with bowel cancer. A family history of bowel cancer is a risk factor. Ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease are also risk factors. Loose stools, bloating, fatigue and vomiting can indicate a serious problem.
- Fortunately, there are several bowel cancer treatments. When a physician prescribes a treatment plan, he will consider his patient’s medical history. The physician will take several blood tests and stool samples.
- The patient will be given a medical exam, and the physician will look for signs of bowel cancer. He will search for lumps and any other abnormalities. The doctor will also give the patient a fecal occult blood test. A stool sample will be taken, and a laboratory technician will inspect the sample.
- The physician may give the patient a lower GI series. During a barium enema, the doctor will give the patient a series of x-rays.
- The patient may also be given a sigmoidoscopy. The physician will insert a thin tube into the patient’s rectum, and he will search for polyps. He will inspect the sample under a microscope. When he inspects the sample under the microscope, he will look for cancerous cells.
- In the earliest stages, abnormal cells are found inside the bowel wall. The cells may become cancerous and spread to other layers. If the cells become cancerous and spread to the submucosa, a physician will try to slow the progression of the malignant cells.
- In the second stage of the disease, cancer spreads to the serosa layer and the nearby organs. In stage three, cancer has spread to at least four lymph nodes.
- In stage four, cancer has spread to the organs. The cancer is not near the abdominal wall or the colon.
- In the first stage of bowel cancer, a physician can remove the polyps during the colonoscopy. A physician may recommend surgery in the second stage of bowel cancer.
- In stage three, the physician may recommend surgery or chemotherapy. If a physician finds cancerous cells after the surgery, he may recommend radiation therapy.
- In stage four, the patient is given chemotherapy and a partial colectomy.
A team of physicians will give the patient a personalized treatment plan. In the later stages of bowel cancer, the physician has to use more invasive treatments.