Your most common questions answered by Dr. Katayoon Homayoon, Specialist Gastroenterologist, Dubai London Hospital.
What is colon cancer, who is the target group, and what does it cause?
Colorectal cancer is the third most frequent cancer in the world in males and the second in females. It means colorectal cells are growing out of control. Factors that increase one’s risk of developing colorectal cancer include age group 45 and above, environmental, and genetic factors, personal or family history of colon polyps and colon cancer, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, abdominopelvic radiation, cystic fibrosis, uncontrolled acromegaly, renal transplantation, obesity, insulin resistance, red and processed meat, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
What are the symptoms and causes of injury?
For most patients with early-stage colon cancer, there are no symptoms. Colon cancer can be diagnosed by routine screening. Some patients have emergency admissions due to intestinal obstruction, perforation, or, rarely, acute gastrointestinal bleeding. Others have symptoms like haematochezia or melena, abdominal pain, unexplained iron deficiency, anaemia, change in bowel habits, abdominal distention, and/or nausea and vomiting. Rectal cancer can cause tenesmus, rectal pain, and a diminished calibre of stools.
How is the diagnosis made?
The diagnosis of colon cancer can be made by histology examination. It is a biopsy that is usually obtained during a colonoscopy or surgery.
Colonoscopy is the most accurate and versatile diagnostic test (for colon cancer localization and biopsy taking) to detect colon cancer. Computed tomography colonography and magnetic resonance colonography are also helpful in determining the extent of a suspected cancer’s spread, but they need confirmation by biopsy during colonoscopy, which exposes patients to radiation. Pillcam2, or colon capsule, is approved for use in patients who have had an incomplete colonoscopy. Laboratory tests like the complete blood count (CBC) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) have a low diagnostic ability to detect primary colon cancer due to significant overlap with benign disease and low sensitivity for early-stage disease. Then they should not be used as a screening test.
Tell us about complications and modern treatment.
Colon cancer is a common and lethal disease. Surgical resection is the primary treatment modality, and based on the extent of disease and metastasis, neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, and chemotherapy may be used.
What are the methods of preventing this disease, and what is the importance of early detection?
Aspirin has a protective effect on the development of colonic adenoma and cancer. Despite the uncertainty, the avoidance of processed and charred red meat, the inclusion of vegetables, adequate amounts of folate intake from food, limited caloric intake, the avoidance of excessive alcohol and smoking, and doing screening tests for colon cancer, especially colonoscopy, as guidelines are protective factors.
If you have any other gastroenterology related queries, feel free to book a consultation with Dr. Katayoon by calling 800 352.