Red Stool May be Due to Cancer

Colon Cancer Overview

Colon Cancer (colorectal cancer or large bowel cancer) - a disease in which cells in the colon, rectum and appendix become abnormal and multiply without control, forming a mass called a tumor. Early din this type of cancer because colon cancer is one of the most curable cancers early on. In its later stages, it is the second most deadly.

Colorectal cancers arise from adenomatous polyps in the colon. They are usually benign, but some develop into cancer over time.

Colon Cancer Survival Information

Survival of colon cancer is directly related to how early it was detected, type and location of cancer. Survival rate for early stage detection is about 5 times better than late stage cancers.

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

The symptoms of colorectal cancer depend on the location of tumor in the bowel and whether it has spread (metastized) to other parts of the body. Most of the symptoms of colon cancer like having bloody stools or pain may occur in other diseases as well, so none of the symptoms of colon cancer by themselves mean you have colon cancer, but if you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may want to consult with a doctor and get a colon cancer screening.

Symptoms and signs are divided into

Local Symptoms

Local symptoms show themselves when the tumor is located closer to the anus. They are:

Constitutional Symptoms of Colon Cancer

If a tumor has caused chronic occult bleeding, iron deficiency anemia may occur. Iron deficiency causes fatigue with palpitations and noticed as pale appearance of the skin. Colorectal cancer with iron deficiency may also lead to weight loss, generally due to a decreased appetite.

More unusual symptoms of constitutional colon cancer are

Metastatic Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer most commonly spreads to the liver. This may go unnoticed, but large deposits in the liver may cause jaundice and abdominal pain and bloating(due to stretching of the capsule). If the tumor deposit obstructs the bile duct, the jaundice may be accompanied by other features of biliary obstruction, such as pale stools.

Colon Cancer Screening

Early detection is vital. Colon Cancer tests include:

More information on other Tests For Digestive Diseases.

Stage 0 Colon Cancer

Tumor confined to lining (mucosa) of the colon or rectum and is confined to the tissue bulging from the surface of an organ. If the cancer is diagnosed during stage zero, the polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy, eliminating the chance of them progressing to later stages of cancer.

Stage 1 Colon Cancer

Tumor invades further beyond the inner lining of the colon, into the wall of the colon or rectum, but is still confined within the wall of the colon. Treatment can include surgery called resection where the healthy, non-cancerous sections of the colon are reconnected again to remove the section of the colon that is cancerous. The five-year survival rate is 95 percent.

Stage 2 Colon Cancer

At stage two, the cancer invades muscularis propria. Stage II colorectal cancer is when the cancer has spread beyond the colon to the tissue that surrounds the colon, but not to lymph nodes. Cancer spreading in this manner from one part of the body to another is called metastasis. A resection surgery may also be used to treat this stage of cancer. The five-year survival rate drops dramatically to 60 percent.

Stage 3 Colon Cancer

The cancer invades subserosa (beyond the colon) and spreads to regional lymph nodes in the surrounding area. In this stage, the cancer has not spread to other organs in the body, and treatment is more aggressive. Surgical resection of the colon, chemotherapy, and other medical therapies may be necessary. The five-year survival rate varied between around 60%.

Stage 4 Colon Cancer

This cancer usually can not be cured. At this stage, cancer that metastasizes to distant organs of the body. Combinations of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery can extend survival, and in rare cases patients may survive. At this stage, there is only a 3 percent chance of reaching the five-year survival time.

Recurrent Colon Cancer

Cancer that comes back again after treatment, either in the colon, or in some other part of the body, is called recurrent. Even after successful treatment of colon cancer, regular check ups are necessary to catch any recurrent cancer early. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in America (lung cancer is the first). Contrary to popular belief, only 15 percent of colon cancer patients must have a permanent colostomy.

Please talk to your doctor about your risk factors for colon cancer, and get screened when appropriate. Some discomfort and embarrassment during a colonoscopy is a small price to pay for your life.

Factors Increasing Risk factors for Colon Cancer

Other Cancers With Symptoms of Bloody Stools

In addition to colon cancer, there are a number of other cancers that can occur within the digestive tract, causing bleeding that results in bloody and black stools

Understanding Doctors and Insurance

If you suspect you have a serious illness, learn how to

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