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Colon Cancer Treatment in India


Colon Cancer Treatment in India

Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer is the cancer of the large intestine (colon), which is the final part of human body’s digestive tract. In most cases, colon cancer begin as non-cancerous clumps of cells or polyps. These abdominal polyps show no real symptoms but can be detected by screening. Early removal of colon polyps can aid in the prevention of colon cancer. This is the reason why doctors recommend screenings for those who have a family history of the disease or over the age of 50. Early detection is key to successful colon cancer treatment.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the US, and the second leading cause of cancer death. Though the symptoms usually depend on the size and location of the cancer, some common signs of the disease include changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation, changes in stool consistency, blood in the stool and abdominal discomfort.

Like any other cancer, Colon cancer treatment also depends on the size, location and extent of cancer spread. Common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation therapy.

Colon is the part of the large intestine which is the lower part of human body’s digestive system. It is a muscular tube about 5 feet long that absorbs water and salt from the remaining food matter after it goes through the small intestine. The waste matter that is left after going through the colon goes into the rectum, the final 6 inches of the digestive system, where it is stored until removed from the body.

Most colon cancers start as polyps, which are abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum that may later become cancerous if not removed. Colon cancer, when diagnosed early, is highly treatable. Most colon cancers are adenocarcinomas. These cancers begin in cells that make mucus to lubricate the inside of the colon and rectum. There are some other less common types of tumors also that can start in the colon and rectum including Carcinoid tumors, Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), Lymphomas, and Sarcomas.

While Carcinoid tumors start from specialized hormone-making cells in the intestine, Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) start from specialized cells in the wall of the colon called the interstitial cells of Cajal. Lymphomas are cancers of immune system cells that typically start in lymph nodes, but they can also start in the colon, or the rectum. Similarly, Sarcomas, though rare can start in blood vessels, muscle layers, or other connective tissues in the wall of the colon and rectum.

An oncologist look at all these aspects for complete and comprehensive colon cancer treatment.

Risk Factors

Although no one knows the exact cause of colon cancer, there surely are certain risk factors that make some people more prone to develop colon cancer than others.

Some of these factors that may increase your risk are:

  • Age over 50: More than 90 percent of people with this disease are diagnosed after the age of 50.
  • Family history of polyps and colorectal cancer
  • Personal history of cancer: Someone who has had colon cancer in the past may be at increased risk for developing the disease a second time.
  • Genetic mutation
  • A person with a family history of HNPCC or FAP can have genetic testing to check for specific genetic changes.
  • Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease that cause inflammation of the colon may put an individual at increased risk of developing colon cancer.
  • Diet and Lifestyle: Studies suggest that diets high in red meat and fat (especially animal fat) and low in calcium, folate and fiber may increase risk of colorectal cancer.

As we earlier said, early diagnosis and detection plays a crucial role in successful colon cancer treatment as it allows for more treatment options. Men and women at average risk for developing colon cancer should use some kind of screening test after touching the age 50. These tests could be Colonoscopy every 10 years or CT colonography every 5 years. One could also go for Flexible sigmoidoscopy or Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years.

If an individual has been diagnosed with cancer, his colon cancer treatment doesn’t start immediately. Doctors first try to figure out if it has spread, and if so, how far. This process is called staging.

The staging for colon cancer ranges from stage I, which is like the beginning of cancer to stage IV, the most advanced cancer.

  1. Stage I cancer involves only the innermost layers of the colon or rectum. The likelihood of complete colon cancer treatment for stage I is over 90 percent.
  2. Stage II cancer manifests greater growth and spread of tumor through the wall of the colon or to nearby structure and organs.
  3. In Stage III, cancer has spread through the mucosa to the submucosa and to local lymph nodes.
  4. In Stage IV, cancer spreads through the blood and lymph nodes to other parts of the body, such as the lung, liver, abdominal wall, or ovary.

The type of colon cancer treatment your doctor recommends will depend largely on the stage of cancer. There are primarily three options available for Colon cancer treatment:

1. Surgery - Surgery is the most common treatment for all types and stages of colon cancer. There are two main types of surgery: Laparoscopy and open surgery.

  • Laparoscopy: Laparoscopy is a preferred surgical option for early stage colon cancer treatment. Using a thin, lighted tube called a laparoscope, surgeon makes three or four tiny cuts into your abdomen and removes the cancerous cells.
  • Open surgery: This surgery is performed during advanced stages of cancer.
  1. Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy refers to treatment that uses drugs to kill cells or to stop them from dividing. These drugs are given in cycles, administering a treatment for a period of time followed by a rest to allow your body time to recover.
  2. Radiation Therapy – The third option for colon cancer treatment is Radiation therapy that uses powerful energy sources, such as X-rays, to kill any cancer cells that might remain after surgery. Use of radiation therapy to treat colon cancer is not very common, but it may be used in certain instances such as to shrink large tumors before an operation so that they can be removed more easily, or to relieve symptoms of colon cancer and rectal cancer or to help control cancers in people who are not healthy enough for surgery.

During colon cancer treatment, Chemotherapy is often combined with radiotherapy making for a more effective treatment. Using these 2 treatments together is called chemoradiation or chemoradiotherapy.

Surgery for early-stage colon cancer

If the colon cancer is in its initial stages, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive surgery as part of your colon cancer treatment such as:

  1. Colonoscopy: A small, localized cancer that is completely contained within a polyp can be easily removed by colonoscopy.
  2. Endoscopic mucosal resection: For larger polyps, a small amount of the lining of the colon or rectum is also removed in a procedure called an endoscopic mucosal resection.
  3. Laparoscopy: In this procedure of colon cancer treatment, a thin, lighted tube called a laparoscope, is used to make three or four tiny cuts into your abdomen for the removal of the cancerous cells. The surgeon may also take samples from lymph nodes in the area where the cancer is located.

Surgery for invasive colon cancer

  1. Partial colectomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes the part of your colon that contains the cancer, along with a margin of normal tissue on either side of the cancer.
  2. Ostomy: This is a surgery done to create a way for waste to leave your body. This scenario occurs when it's not possible to reconnect the healthy portions of your colon or rectum after colectomy. In this procedure, an opening is created in the wall of your abdomen to eliminate stool into a bag that fits securely over the opening.
  3. Lymph node removal

Surgery for advanced cancer or Diverting colostomy

Diverting colostomy is used in the cases when colon cancer has spread out and also there are tumors blocking the colon. This surgery isn't done to cure cancer, but instead to relieve the blockage that is causing symptoms, such as bleeding and pain.

In this colon cancer treatment, the colon is cut above the tumor and attached to a stoma (an opening in the skin of the abdomen) to allow stool out. The main advantage of this procedure is that it helps the patient improve enough to begin other treatments like chemotherapy.

Follow up

Any cancer treatment or surgery including colon cancer treatment requires follow-up care as cancer has chances of recurrence. Patients diagnosed with cancer remain at risk of developing it again for up to ten years after their original tests and treatment. This risk of recurrence is in fact much higher in the first few years.

Though the cancer can recur at the original site, it happens rarely. Usually cancer returns in a distant location such as the lymph nodes, liver, or lungs. Doctor follow patients with physical examinations and blood tests for the first two years and then with decreasing frequency thereafter. Other procedures that are followed up include colonoscopies that begin a year after the diagnosis and also CT scans performed annually for the first two to five years.

With latest technology and advanced medical care, India today ranks among the world’s best medical destination for Colon cancer treatment and surgery. The Cancer Hospitals in India are well equipped with experienced team of doctors, nurses and other specially trained professionals who constantly work towards improving the quality of life for people with cancer and their families.

The best hospitals for colon cancer treatment in India includes names like Max Healthcare, Manipal Hospitals, Fortis Healthcare, BLK, Nanavati Hospital, Wockhardt, Columbia Asia etc.

The cost of Colon cancer treatment in India is much less than a majority of the developed countries, including the US, UK, and Singapore. Furthermore, the success rates of cancer treatment in the country are amongst the highest in the world. To make things easier, it is now possible to obtain a medical visa specifically aimed at people wanting to visit the country to access their healthcare.

How Medmonks can assist you in your treatment?

At Medmonks, it is our constant endeavor to provide affordable, accessible and reliable medical services in a hassle proof and stress free environs of India. We know that a cancer diagnosis can be emotionally challenging. So, we try to make your medical journey as easy as possible.

Our dedicated patient welfare team ensures that all our Colon cancer treatment patients are taken care of from the moment they land in the country and their pick up from the airport to their treatment at the respective hospital and final return.

Medmonks not only helps in identifying the right treatment for your problem, but we also facilitate your medical journey by choosing the best doctors and hospitals. Each year, patients from the UK, US, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, East Africa, Middle East, and Nepal come to seek cancer care services in India.

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