Colon cancer in woman: Symptoms & Treatment
Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon, which is the last part of our gastrointestinal trac in both men and woman.
Colon and rectal cancers often go hand in hand with each other. These two types of cancer may be colorectal cancer, which is sometimes simply abbreviates as CRC.
The American Cancer Society reports that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in women and men.
Colon cancer is typically a disease that affects older people, but it can happen at any age. It starts with small types of polyps that grow inside the colon slowly turning into colon cancer over time.
If you find out that you have colon cancer, there are many treatment options available to control it. This includes surgical procedures, radiation therapy, and drug treatments like chemotherapy or targeted therapy. There are also immunotherapy treatments for those who don’t want surgery.
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Symptoms of colon cancer in women?
Polyps are usually benign, but when a cancerous polyp does form, cancer cells can move into the colon and rectum and eventually spread.
Colon cancer in women is an often symptomless type of cancer during the early stages.
When they do occur, the signs of colon cancer in women tend to be the same as those seen in men, and can include:
A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, maybe a sign that something is going on.
- Cramps, gas, or pain may be an indication that your intestines need greater blood flow.
- blood in the stool or rectal bleeding
- Unplanned weight loss
- You may experience symptoms like fatigue, weakness, or low energy levels.
Risk factors of Colon Cancer in women
Some of the same factors that raise the risk of colon cancer in men are also present in women.
Among these risks are:
- We’ve all heard about the risks of colon cancer and that, the risk is much higher after 50. Younger woman have been known to have colon cancer, too though.
- Having had benign polyps in the past can increase your risk of cancerous polyps forming later on. If you’ve had colon cancer before, this also increases the risk that you’ll get cancer again.
- A family history of colon cancer or polyps increases your risk. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help lower the chances of developing colon cancer.
- After receiving radiation treatment to the abdominal area, including cervical cancer, you may be more likely to develop colon or rectal cancer in the future.
- A bad diet, not getting enough exercise, and smoking can put you at risk of heart disease. Especially worse for women than men. It’s better to have one alcoholic drink a day
- Obesity increases a person’s risk of colon cancer and, if they have colon cancer, their chance of dying from it.
- Smoking increases the risk of colon cancer. Heavy alcohol consumption also increases your risk of getting colon cancer in women.
You may also be at a greater risk of developing a condition called hereditary polyposis colorectal cancer (HPCR) if you have a history of endometrial cancer, and are carrying the mutation for the MMR gene.
The MMR gene mutation has been in relation to Lynch syndrome. Lynch syndrome accounts for about 2-4% of all colorectal cases, according to reliable sources.
How to diagnose colon cancer?
Fecal immunochemical testing
The American College of Physicians recommends FIT or a Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test for adults 50 years old and over who are at risk of colon cancer. These tests should be done every 2 years.
A colonoscope goes into the anus and extend up into the colon to provide a way of looking for abnormalities in the bowel.
- These days a gene test can help you learn more about the type of cancer that you have and what treatment decisions might be available to you.
- A computed tomography (CT) scan of the tissue near the colon can help see if cancer has spread.
- Ultrasounds use sound waves to make computer images of tissue in the body.
If there is an increased risk for colon cancer in women, your doctor may recommend starting screening earlier.
Coloscopies should be scheduled every 10yrs, and if more than one polyp is found, your doctor may decide to do a coloscopy sooner
Even with the latest guidelines and research, it can be hard to know the best screening schedule. Talk to your doctor about your family history & risk factors so they can help you find the appropriate screening frequency.
How is colon cancer in women treated?
There are three major treatments for colon cancer:
The most common early-stage treatment for colon cancer in women is surgery to remove the disease-carrying polyps.
When the disease progresses, more tissue or parts of the intestines or even part of the colon may need to be removed.
Cancer treatment intend to shrink tumors, stop their growth and prevent a recurrence. It might be recommend if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes
Chemotherapy is often helpful in conjunction with surgery, to help shrink tumors. It also helps kill any cancer cells that may not be removed during the surgery.
Targeted therapies or immunotherapies may also be in recommendation. They can be helpful on their own or together with chemotherapy.
Powerful energy beams such as X-rays focus on cancerous tumors during radiation therapy to shrink or destroy them.
Radiation therapy is sometimes done with chemotherapy treatment and may be recommended before surgery.
The survival rate for colon cancer indeed is about the same for both women and men. Older age and poorer overall health are important factors as to how well you will do, but the main factor affecting survival rates is how far cancer has spread.
It’s important to remember to talk with your doctor if you’re in a worry about cancer progression and treatments. They’ll know what’s going on the best, so getting feedback from them is a good idea.
Colon cancer in women can typically spot early on through routine screenings and manage it before any harm is done.
Until you speak with your doctor, it’s difficult to determine an appropriate date for a colonoscopy. Be sure to report any new symptoms so they can take another look.
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