Understanding Colon Cancer and Colon Cancer Treatment

Approximately 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer each year, however, it’s one of the most curable types of cancer when it’s detected early.

Colonoscopies are vital for early detection of colon cancer because most people do not experience any symptoms until the disease has progressed. Generally speaking, men and women should begin colon cancer screenings at age 50, repeating at least every ten years. Those with abnormal cells in their colon screenings should undergo this treatment every five years.

What are the common symptoms of colon cancer?

Symptoms of colon cancer include:

  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Persistent diarrhea or constipation lasting longer than four weeks
  • Painful cramping, gas or other abdominal pain
  • Sudden or unexplained weight loss

What are the treatment options for colon cancer?

Treatment options for colon cancer include:

  • Surgery – Colon cancers in stage 0, I, II and III are often curable from surgery alone. However, in some cases, patients may receive chemotherapy as well, in order to increase the chance of eliminating the disease.
    • Laparoscopic – A minimally invasive surgery that uses a camera and several tiny instruments to locate and remove cancer cells and tumors.
    • Colostomy – An operation to create an opening in which the colon (large intestine) is pulled through a small incision in the abdomen in order to divert stool away from the colon.
    • Radiofrequency ablation – A medical procedure that removes dysfunctional cells and tissue using heat generated from medium frequency radio waves.

  • Radiation therapy – A treatment in which electromagnetic, high-energy waves are used to shrink and destroy cancer cells. While the treatment itself is not painful, some people suffer common side effects like fatigue, loss of appetite and skin changes.
  • Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is a schedule of a specific number of injection cycles that utilize the combination of drugs to eliminate any cancer cells remaining following surgery.
  • Targeted therapy ­– A treatment that blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while reducing damage to healthy, noncancerous cells.

If you or someone you love is suffering from a colon cancer diagnosis, contact the START Center at 210-745-6841 for leading-edge cancer treatment in San Antonio and Boerne, Texas. Our team strives to offer each patient a comprehensive treatment plan that includes multispecialty services, genetic profiling of tumors, targeted therapies, state-of-the-art treatment technology, and easy access to clinical research options you won’t find anywhere else in the region.