Staging Colon Cancer

When a doctor wants to evaluate the progress of colon cancer of one of his patients he or she uses a method called Staging. This method is about finding out to what extent the tumor (colon cancer) has spread to the other regions of the patients body. Once the doctors figured out in what stage the colon cancer is, they will develop the best course of action or treatment.

At this point in time the system that is most commonly used for the staging process of colon cancer is called the American Joint Committee on Cancer’s (AJCC) TNM staging system. Simply put this system used for staging places the patients into one of four stages.

Stage 0

Stage 0 also known as carcinoma in situ or colorectal cancer. In this stage the colon cancer has been detected in the innermost lining of the colon.

Stage I

In this stage the colon cancer has already begun to spread. But the cancer is still in the inner lining of the rectum or colon. In this stage the colon cancer has not reached the outer walls of the colon yet. Stage I is also known as Duke A or colorectal cancer.

Stage II

In this stage the colon cancer spread more deeply into or through the colon or rectum. Possibly the colon cancer may have affected other tissue as well. In this stage the colon cancer hasn’t reached the Lymph nodes (bean-sized structures which can be found in the entire body that helps the body fight all kinds of infections and diseases. Stage II is also known as Duke B or colorectal cancer.

Stage III

When you are in this stage the colon cancer has now spread to the Lymph nodes although it hasn’t spread to nearby parts of the body. Stage III is also known as Duke C or colorectal cancer.

Stage IV

In this stage the colon cancer has spread through the Lymph node system to other nearby tissue. This is most commonly called metastasis. The organs that most likely are affected are the lungs and liver. Stage IV is also known as Duke D or colorectal cancer.

Recurrent Colon Cancer or Cancerous Cells

When doctors talk about recurrent colon cancer they mean that cancerous cells that have already been treated have returned. These cancerous cells could possibly have returned as colorectal cancer but they might as well return in any other part of the body too.

Caregivers Play Key Role in Disease Management of Older Colon Cancer Patients

Colon cancer patients who are 65 and older may benefit from a caregiver’s involvement, and caregivers may ultimately have a major impact on patients’ disease management, according to a survey of oncologists commissioned by the Alliance for Aging Research.

Ninety percent of oncologists feel that caregivers have a moderate to major impact on the decision-making process. Unfortunately, only about 64 percent of colon cancer patients in this age group have caregivers’ support.

“Physicians should encourage patients to enlist a caregiver and involve them in the treatment decision-making process,” said Dr. Stuart Lichtman, associate attending physician at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

More than half of oncologists who agree that colon cancer patients 65 and older have a more difficult time managing their disease than younger patients also agree that these patients are generally less proactive about researching available treatment options. Seventy-seven percent said that such patients experienced better disease outcomes with a caregiver’s involvement due to increased communication. Additionally, caregivers play an important role in providing emotional support, participating in doctors’ visits and in decisions about disease management options and providing transportation to appointments.

“It is clear that caregivers are key to ensuring that colon cancer patients 65 and older receive the best care,” said Daniel Perry, executive director of Alliance for Aging Research. “Since managing colon cancer can be a complicated and confusing process especially for the aging population, a caregiver, whether a spouse, child, friend or neighbor, should be actively involved.”

“Crossing Jordan” star Miguel Ferrer, who lost his father, José Ferrer, to colon cancer, is partnering with the Alliance for Aging Research in a program called “Caring for the Aging,” to educate colon cancer patients and caregivers about the importance of active involvement in the treatment of the disease. This awareness program is sponsored by sanofi-aventis.

“The involvement of my stepmother helped ease my father’s decision-making process as he went down a difficult path,” Ferrer said. “I encourage all caregivers and family members to become actively involved and ask the right questions to ensure the best possible outcomes for their loved one.”

What is colon cancer&treatment

One 6-letter word that smacks fear into the hearts and minds of many people in this day and age is the word ‘Cancer’. I would venture to say that this fear is most likely the result of a lack of knowledge of the disease. If you fall into that category, then hopefully the information that you receive here will put you at ease, as well as inspire you to find out
more from the vast storehouse of information that is available.

What is cancer?
Briefly, it is brought about when cells in our body do not mature. A normal healthy cell has a specific function to perform in the body. These immature cells are not performing their proper function, and so remain undeveloped. They then begin feeding on the body, stealing nutrition in an attempt to grow, and thus become cancerous. How quickly they grow out of control, causing the spread of the cancer, is dependant on the strength of an individuals natural defenses against these cells.

Every day, every one of us is exposed to innumerable cancer-causing agents. It has been established that approximately 70 to 80 percent of all cancers occur as a result of the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink, as well as lifestyle and environmental factors. Approximately one third of deaths from cancer are related to dietary factors. Our bodies have natural defense mechanisms to battle these ‘agents’, but in many cases, because of neglecting proper nutrition and exercise, and abusing our bodies by loading them with even more harmful agents, then these defenses are weakened or overwhelmed, and cancer begins to gain a foothold in the body.

Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer as it’s sometimes known as is cancer which starts in the digestive, or gastrointestinal (GI) system. A colon’s primary responsibility is to process food into energy and remove all waste materials. As with any cancer, the disease begins when cancerous cells begin to grow out of control compared to normal, non-cancer cells. Every cancer is different depending on where it occurs, so colon cancer will generally progress at a different rate, cause different
symptoms, and respond to different medical treatments. Although there are some specific treatment methods for the different body areas affected, there are some basic principles, which are common to all cancer forms. .

Perhaps you’re reading this article because you are suffering form cancer right now, or perhaps you know someone else who is. Maybe you’re just looking for information to help avoid it in the future. Whatever your circumstances are, I urge you to imprint the following statement deeply into your mind – Cancer Can Be Conquered! However, with the rapid advances that have been made with modern medicine, as well as the rediscovery of ancient natural therapies that are built upon good nutrition and sound principles of daily living, it can be stated with confidence. I’ll say it again – Cancer Can Be Conquered.

The first victory over colon cancer is it must be made on the battlefield of the mind. It is here that fear seeks to control and overwhelm you. I would encourage you to make a firm decision to stand up against this giant of fear, and to reach beyond it to find hope and faith. There is a statement that is made that says, ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ So, the first step to being set free from the enemy of fear is to find out the truth concerning cancer. The lie has for too long been that cancer is the end of the road – incurable.

The truth is just the opposite. Realize that and set yourself free from the numbing fear of cancer that wants to defeat you. Say that you are more than enough to fight against it. Make a firm decision that you are going to defeat with you will power.

Most of the time, colon cancer spreads slowly over a period of years, and colon cancer can effect any section or layer of your colon. The key to have a good prognosis with colon cancer is to catch the disease early. If a doctor can find and remove a colon cancer polyp in the early stages, then there is a much better chance of recovery. Risk factors of colon cancer include age, family history, smoking, ethnicity, diet, lack of exercise, alcohol, and history of other bowel disease. If you are in an at-risk category, then it is important to get a colon cancer screening test. If you are unsure with you fit the profile, talk to ask primary physician first.

Our supplementary diets have a positive effect. They are natural and have no side effects. We should also be positive in that certain foods greatly strengthen and aid our built in immune system in the ongoing battle against our healthy body cells. We should be negative in that there are certain foodstuffs that have been shown to be harmful, and to greatly speed up the growth and spread of cancer cells. It thus becomes imperative that we learn what foodstuffs are immune boosters, and which ones weaken it.

Besides our diet, the next major contributing factor to consider is the environment we are living in. More and more vehicles are being produced, and more and more factories built, pumping out toxic gases into the atmosphere, causing a subtle build-up of toxins in our
bodies, wearing down the ability of the immune system to cope. Unfortunately, we have very little control over these environmental effects, other than to relocate to a safer
environment, which is not always possible. This then makes it even more vital for us to build up our immune systems with the right foods, and supplementary minerals and vitamins.

One last consideration to take note of is that any cancer is more easily defeated if caught in its early stages. Therefore it is very important to have regular medical check-ups, even if we are feeling fine. Then too, learn what are the telltale symptoms for the various cancers, and at the first evidence of anything suspicious, get it checked out by your doctor.

Colon cancer has become the 3rd most common form of Cancer in men and 4th in women and is the second leading cause of death among cancers. If it is left untreated, it can spread and affect other parts of the body, such as the liver and lungs, causing new tumors to form in these organs. This process of the cancer spreading is called metastasis. Once metastasis sets in, the chances of curing the cancer completely are slim.

Therefore early detection is key to making a full recovery. The removal of benign (non-cancerous) colon polyps can prevent colon cancer. Colon polyps initially appear in benign form. Over time, benign colon polyps can undergo chromosome damage to become cancerous. There is no definitive cause for colon cancer, but diets high in fat are believed to play a role in the formation. Other factors include a family history of colon cancer, polyps in the large intestine and ulcerative colitis.

Colon Cancer Causes Revealed

Colon cancer is a major illness and one that can cause life altering effects. In fact, this form of cancer is one of the most common in the nation. Most colon cancer patients suffer from polyps, which are abnormal cells that form clusters. When normal cells begin to transform, a potential problem arises. As time progresses, these growths get bigger and can lead to the development of cancer. A vast majority of sufferers have a family history with the disease. In addition, the risk of developing colon cancer increases with age and is most common in those ages 50 and up. Certain individuals simply carry the genetic makeup, which can be identified through a series of tests, that may lead to colon cancer.

While there are no certain ways to pinpoint exactly who develops cancer, or why, there are several risk factors that may increase an individual’s chance of developing the illness. Among them, a previous battle with cancer, a family history with colon cancer, poor diets, smoking and obesity. With so many risk factors, one may wonder if there is anything that they can do in order to prevent colon cancer. Studies show that a lot of physical activity or exercise and a low-fat, high-fiber diet may help to reduce the risks. In addition, certain medicines may also help to prevent the disease.

As is the case with many ailments, symptoms are often very similar to those of other diseases. It can be extremely difficult to get an accurate assessment of what’s wrong when so many illnesses carry the same symptoms. For this reason, it’s important to seek medical attention if an individual experiences abnormal bleeding, weakness, pale complexion or abdominal expansion without weight gain, nausea, any change in bowel movements or weight loss. Each person is different and, as such, symptoms may vary slightly. Because symptoms may either present themselves as severe or barely noticeable, it is recommended that patients be screened regularly for the presence of cancer causing factors.

If left untreated, any type of cancerous cells have the ability to grow and spread throughout the rest of the body. This can lead to the need for further surgery, more intense treatments or, in the worst case, a cancer may become so advanced that it will not respond to treatment. When seeking medical attention, it’s important to understand that there are a series of tests that can detect and diagnose colon cancer. A physician will be able to answer any questions that a patient may have regarding treatment options and the likelihood of their success.

This article should not be construed as professional medical advice. If you, or someone that you know, is concerned about the possibility of cancer, you should seek medical attention immediately. A medical doctor can discuss various options, prevention and treatment possibilities should the presence of cancer be detected. A series of tests may be conducted in order to confirm, or rule out, any such diagnosis and can only be done by a medical doctor.

One Simple Test Can Help You Fight The Battle Against Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both women and men. This disease surpasses both breast and prostate cancer in mortality, second only to lung cancer in the number of cancer deaths. Despite the fact that it is highly preventable, it is estimated that 148,610 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed and 55,170 people will die from the disease in 2006. However, when detected and treated early, colorectal cancer has a five-year survival rate of greater than 90 percent. For that reason, routine screening is vital in the prevention and detection of this deadly disease.

CRC Screening

According to the American Cancer Society, “beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should follow one of these five testing schedules:

• yearly fecal occult blood test (FOBT)* or fecal immunochemical test (FIT)

• flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years

• yearly FOBT* or FIT plus flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years**

• double-contrast barium enema every five years

• colonoscopy every 10 years

* For FOBT, the take-home multiple sample method should be used.

** The combination of yearly FOBT or FIT plus flexible sigmoid-oscopy every five years is preferred over either of these options alone.

All positive tests should be followed up with colonoscopy.”

New Test

One simple, easy-to-use test is Quidel’s QuickVue® iFOB test. QuickVue iFOB is a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) where the sample is collected by the patient in the privacy of his/her home and mailed to the physician for testing. The test detects the presence of blood in stool specimens, an indication of a number of gastrointestinal disorders, including colorectal cancer.

The QuickVue iFOB test requires only one specimen. Because it is specific to human hemoglobin (blood), there are no dietary restrictions and only certain medication restrictions, distinguishing it from guaiac-based tests that have onerous restrictions. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, in comparison with guaiac-based tests, commonly known as Fecal Occult Blood Tests (FOBTs), immunochemical tests are more patient-friendly.

“We are committed to saving lives through early screening and detection of colon cancer,” said John Tamerius, Ph.D., Vice President, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, Quidel Corporation. “We believe our unique, patient-friendly sample collection device makes this screening process as easy as possible for the patient.”

Despite these recent advancements in CRC screening, less than 50 percent of people age 50 or older have had a recent test. There appears to be a significant opportunity for CRC prevention since it takes an average of 10 years for cancerous cells to develop. Therefore, if you’re over the age of 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, you should speak with your physician about taking an iFOB test. The test is simple, takes a minimal amount of time and may help save your life.

A Mother’s Battle With Advanced Colon Cancer

In the fall of 2003, Bridget Beranek, a 44-year-old wife and mother of two young girls, was gearing up for a busy holiday season filled with family functions, parties and shopping. So when she began to lose her appetite and energy, Bridget initially chalked it up to holiday stress.

When the New Year came and went, but Bridget’s symptoms were still present, she knew it was more than stress. After several visits to her primary care physician, Bridget saw an internist, and underwent a colonoscopy. In March 2004, she was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer that had spread to her liver.

“I know it sounds cliché, but I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” said Bridget. “Scheduling a colonoscopy was not a priority for me because I was under 50 and lived a healthy lifestyle. I ate right, didn’t drink or smoke, and went regularly for a mammogram. One thing I learned from this experience is that colon cancer is a disease more people, especially women, need to be better informed about.”

The American Cancer Society reports that colorectal cancer, commonly referred to as colon cancer, is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, second only to lung cancer. It is also the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women.

Risk factors for colon cancer include a family or personal history of the disease, intestinal polyps or chronic inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, a high-fat diet, and being age 50 or older. Symptoms may include changes in bowel habits, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, fatigue, blood in the stool or unexplained weight loss, though many people are diagnosed without any symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends men and women over age 50 who have an average risk for colon cancer receive screening. Higher-risk patients, such as those with a family history of the disease, should talk with their physicians about when they should begin screening.

Fortunately for Bridget, a new treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer had just been approved by the FDA, only weeks before her diagnosis. Her oncologist decided to treat her with a combination of traditional chemotherapy and a targeted therapy called Avastin® (bevacizumab). Though she occasionally has side effects such as fatigue, Bridget’s cancer has responded to the treatment and she is doing well. She is thankful to be able to spend time with her husband and daughters, and to practice her favorite hobby, photography.

Typically, metastatic colorectal cancer patients undergo surgery followed by chemotherapy. Today’s targeted therapies, which are designed to attack cancer cells in a more specific way than chemotherapy, provide an additional tool for doctors to use in treating this disease. Avastin, for example, is an angiogenesis inhibitor, which means it interferes with the blood vessels that feed cancer tumors, to help prevent tumors from growing and spreading to other parts of the body. Avastin is approved for use in combination with intravenous 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy for first-line treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

It is important to keep in mind that Avastin has been associated with side effects in colorectal cancer. Serious side effects occur rarely, but can include gastrointestinal perforation and slow or incomplete wound healing and blood clot complications. Other more common side effects seen in clinical trials include nosebleeds, high blood pressure, proteinuria (too much protein in the urine, which may be a sign of kidney damage), weakness, pain, diarrhea, and a reduced white blood cell count.

Because everyone is different, it is not possible to predict what side effects an individual may experience. If you have questions about side effects or treatment with Avastin, talk to your doctor or another member of the health-care team.