Coping with Colon Cancer
Colon cancer will change your lifestyle forever. It is very important to detect colon cancer at an early stage. Your chances of survival starts with 95% with the early detection and treatment and decreases to 3% in the 4th or last stages of colon cancer. Sad to say, less than 40% of colon cancer patients have the benefit of checking the disease with early detection and treatment. The medical examination for the colon is called proctosigmoidoscopy. A lighted tube is inserted into the rectum to check for tumors in the rectal wall. This procedure is quick but relatively embarrassing for many to bear.
Another painless test is to check for blood in the stool. If you experience symptoms of colon problems, then your doctor will order a stool sample to be sent to the laboratory to check for the microscopic presence of blood in the stool. You should be alarmed if you spot blood in your bowel movements and ask your doctor to test for irregularities. Other indications of trouble are unexplained weight loss, constant weariness, and feelings of fullness without eating food, bloating, loss of appetite and frequent gas pain. Visit your doctor immediately for submitting samples for tests. If any results are returned positive, your doctor will refer you to a specialist for further diagnosis and treatment.
For the more fortunate, early detection of colon cancer saves the colon as only a colonoscopy is required to remove the polyps or tumors in the colon. At the second stage of colon cancer, curative surgery is required to remove the colon to prevent the spread of the cancer. Then the patient has to wear an external colostomy pouch. It will contain liquid stool passed out of the abdomen through a surgically created hole called the stoma. It requires special cleaning with water and hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic (non-fragrance) soap. If there are infections or complications, the stoma may bleed and emit a foul odor of the waste. Patients of colostomy need to increase fiber in their diet to help digestion and bowel movements. Foods which give flatulence are banned from the diet. Dietary fiber needs to be added slowly to avoid problems with intestinal gas.
Colon cancer is genetically inherited. Other factors are cigarette smoke, chemicals, pesticides and radiation. Diet plays an important part in preventing colon cancer. Fiber helps to move waste faster so that the digestive tract bacteria do not stick on the colon walls to cause tumors and eventually cancer. Fiber binds with cholesterol and fatty bile acids to eliminate them as wastes. This cleans up the colon and makes it healthy. Taking antioxidants in supplements or natural foods help in neutralizing cancer causing free radicals in the body. This goes to help in lowering the risk of cancer in any part of the body. Natural foods containing fiber and antioxidants are spinach, broccoli, orange juice and carrots.
If the inevitable happen and you had a colostomy, take heart in believing that you still can live your life to the fullest, with the necessary care for yourself.
Cancer Treatment Alternatives
Cancer is one of the most devastating diseases known to man. Like many other afflictions, there have been many significant advances in the treatment of cancer in the recent past. But overall, treatment is limited to four basic options. Radiation therapy is effective because it takes advantage of the fact that rapidly dividing cancer cells are more susceptible to radiation than are normal cells. Radiation therapy can be used in one of two methods: it can either be applied be inserting radioactive seeds into the cancerous area or by firing an external beam of radiation at the affected area.
Chemotherapy is essentially the tactic of poisoning the body and hoping that the bad cells die before the good ones. Chemotherapy is often effective, but it can have some very serious side effects. Often times, these two treatments are used in conjunction with the third, surgery. In cases where the cancer has not spread significantly and is not in a hard to reach area, doctors can sometimes remove all or part of the tumor surgically. Surgery is most often used when the cancer is caught at an early stage. The final treatment option doesn't really involve treatment at all. In some very non-aggressive cancers or in older patients it is often better to take a "wait and see" approach, in which the cancer is monitored very carefully and is treated if necessary.