Bowel cancer: signs. Bowel Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment
Bowel cancer is a disease that occupies one of the leading places among all cancer pathologies. It is called the disease of civilization, because it is the population of advanced and developing countries that most often faces this problem. In Western Europe and America, this issue is most acute. The disease affects both men and women equally after 40 years.
Why bowel cancer occurs
The intestine consists of two sections: the small and large intestine. Each of them is at risk of being affected by oncology. Most common is colon cancer. Tumors in the thin section are much less common.
There are many factors that provoke the emergence and development of the disease:
- Genetic predisposition.
- Inflammatory and chronic diseases in the intestines. Prolonged exposure to damaging factors on the mucous membrane of organs can provoke the degeneration of normal cells into cancer cells.
- Benign intestinal lesions can degenerate into malignant.
- Human papillomavirus in some cases causes cancer.
- Unbalanced nutrition. Reducing the consumption of vegetable fibers, as well as the predominance of fatty and protein foods causes inhibition of intestinal motility and the formation of stagnation. At the same time, fecal masses are irritating to the mucous membrane, causing its chronic inflammation and further intestinal cancer. Signs of malnutrition are frequent constipation, colic, and increased flatulence.
- Alcohol abuse.
However, it is impossible to accurately identify the causes of intestinal oncology, as well as to predict its development. Only attentive attitude to your health and annual preventive checks after 40 years will help prevent a disease or start treatment on time.
How is the disease manifested
The insidiousness of the disease is that even experts do not always immediately identify bowel cancer. The signs of the disease are very blurry and often have similarities with the manifestations of other pathologies. The main "bells" for going to the doctor and diagnosis are:
- Blood in stool from tumor-affected tissues.
- Pains similar to colitis due to the mechanical effects of the formation.
- Nausea, belching and bloating.
- Constipation, alternating diarrhea. The tumor inhibits the advancement of feces, in places of stagnation begins fermentation. After which the liquid, mixed with feces, comes out, resembling diarrhea.
- Anemia due to permanent blood loss.
- Aversion to meat due to the increased concentration in the blood of the breakdown products of proteins.
- Sharp decrease in body weight.
- Yellowness of the skin.
- Decreased body tone, fatigue.
All of the above can say that a person has intestinal cancer. Symptoms and the manifestation of the disease may look like colitis or appendicitis with peritonitis. At this stage it is important to choose the right diagnostic method.
Method for the diagnosis of bowel cancer
Only specific types of diagnostics can confirm intestinal cancer, the signs of which are usually hidden, especially in the early stages. Timely studies are a chance for a full recovery, as the treatment of oncology in the later stages usually does not bring the expected result.
There are the following diagnostic methods:
- Finger research. Allows you to identify oncology in the rectum.
- Rectoromanoscopy. The study of the intestinal wall at 30 cm from the anus.
- Colonoscopy. Allows you to take a biopsy at a distance of 1 m from the anus.
- X-ray examination, or irrigoscopy. It is carried out after administration with the aid of an enema of a contrast agent (barium suspension), which makes it possible to identify tumors along the entire length of the intestine.
- Magnetic resonance and computed tomography. The most modern method allows to determine a clear localization of malignant tumors.
- Ultrasound diagnosis of the abdominal cavity.
- The study of fecal occult blood.
In order for the therapy to be successful, it is necessary to seek help from specialists as soon as possible and to go through all the prescribed types of diagnostics, despite the fact that some of them are unpleasant and even painful.
Methods of dealing with the disease
If the patient was diagnosed with intestinal cancer, the treatment will be surgical removal of the tumor. This is the only therapy that can lead to full recovery.
The operation is performed under general anesthesia by dissecting the abdominal wall and removal of damaged tissues and adjacent lymph nodes to prevent recurrence and metastasis. If possible, the integrity of the intestine is restored immediately. And if not, then they make a colostomy - they artificially pull it onto the abdominal wall. This is usually a temporary inconvenience, which resolves after a few weeks or a month. The ends of the intestine are stitched, after which the normal bowel movement is restored.
After surgical removal of the tumor, microscopic examination of the excised tissues is carried out to detect malignant lesions of the lymph nodes. The presence of cancer cells in them indicates the possibility of the spread of metastases, which cannot yet be diagnosed because of their small size. A study is also conducted on the presence of metastases in the abdominal area and the pelvic organs.
If the possibility of recurrence is confirmed, then adjuvant treatment is prescribed - chemotherapy for intestinal cancer. It is carried out with a drug that slows the growth of tumor cells, 5-fluorouracil.This significantly reduces the risk of recurrence. Sometimes radiation therapy is prescribed to prevent the return of the disease.
How to detect intestinal cancer in a timely manner
Unfortunately, screening of the population for cancer has not yet been provided. Therefore, you will have to monitor your health yourself. To do this, people who are at risk should regularly undergo tests for hidden blood in the feces and, if possible, perform a colonoscopy. This is especially true of those whose relatives suffered from this disease.
Early detection of neoplasms makes it possible to completely cure colon cancer in the early stages. Metastases still do not have time to form, so surgery is enough to eliminate the problem.
Bowel Cancer Prevention
The basis for the prevention of malignant tumors in the intestine is proper nutrition, timely treatment of any inflammatory diseases of the digestive system and an active lifestyle.
Even those people who are not at risk should carefully monitor their diet.It is mainly necessary to eat vegetables and fruits, low-fat varieties of meat and fish, legumes and oils of vegetable origin. It is necessary to abandon sweets, marinades, smoked meats, roasted and spicy. It is recommended to perform daily physical exercises, take walks and more often be in the fresh air.
The earlier a disease is diagnosed, the greater the likelihood of a quick and complete recovery. About 80% of patients get rid of the disease, if cancer struck only the intestinal mucosa. If the malignant cells have already grown into the wall, then the probability of recovery is reduced to 70%. When the disease enters the stage of metastasis, the chances of the patients are reduced to 30-50%.
It is very important to never forget about your own health and to turn to specialists at the first symptoms of the disease. If a patient has had time to detect intestinal cancer in the early stages, the signs of which may hide behind the mask of other diseases, then the possibility of successful therapy increases many times.