New Advancements in Colon Cancer Research
While surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are still the most common treatments for colon cancer, doctors have been conducting exciting new research in the field that aims to improve treatment, detection, and preventative measures.
Some of the current research includes:
- Reducing Risk–Many studies seek to identify causes of colon cancer. Other studies are examining whether certain diets, medicines like aspirin, or dietary supplements can effectively lower someone’s risk of developing cancer.
- Improving Early Detection–Doctors and scientists are working together to develop better methods to detect colon cancer while the cancer is still small and hasn’t spread.
- Surgical Advancements–These days, surgeons have a better understanding about what increases the success rates of colorectal surgery–such as making sure a sufficient amount of lymph nodes are removed during the operation
- Laparoscopic surgery–This form of surgery involves making small incisions in the abdomen, as opposed to making a single large incision. It’s become a popular and alternative effective alternative, because patients recover faster, and with less pain.
- Targeted Therapy–Unlike chemotherapy, targeted therapy affects the specific parts of cancer cells that differentiate them from your body’s normal cells. There are already several targeted therapy drugs for colon cancer, and doctors are studying the most effective ways to administrate them, as well as testing out new targeted therapy drugs.
Early Stages of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) often begins with noncancerous polyps. Sometimes these polyps don’t cause any symptoms, but they can be detected through screening. Doctors recommend screenings for people over 50 years old–younger for people who have a high risk, or who have experienced the 3 signs of colon cancer.
3 Signs of Colon Cancer
Symptoms of colorectal cancer vary depending on the cancer’s location and size.
- A notable change in bowel activity–These changes can include constipation, diarrhea, changes in stool consistency of your stool, rectal bleeding, and bloody stool. If these symptoms last for more than four weeks, it’s time to seek medical attention.
- Abdominal Pain–Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort is a notable sign of colon cancer. This pain can take the form of gas, abdominal cramps, or pain.
- Unexplained Weight Loss–If you lose more than ten pounds for seemingly no reason, this could be one of the 3 signs of colon cancer.