Colon cancer is usually very silent in its early stages. Many people don’t have any symptoms, so sometimes it is not detected on early stages. Some of the symptoms people with colon cancer can have are changes in bowel movements, bleeding in stools, weakness, and weight loss. Some of the risk factors for developing this disease include having intestinal polyps or having family members that have had polyps; intestinal inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn disease; following a low-fiber content diet and high fat diet; being sedentary; having diabetes and obesity; and smoking. Knowing these are all risk factors, people can make simple lifestyle changes that can help a lot in the prevention of colon cancer. For example, losing extra weight and eating enough fiber; quit smoking; exercising; and going to the doctor if any there are any unexpected changes on the bowel movements.
Colon cancer is usually detected using a colonoscopy, which is a procedure where a probe that has a camera is inserted through the rectum and the colon. On the video, doctors can see if there are any suspicious areas, and take a sample to analyze it. Blood tests can also be used to detect cancer. These procedures, along with CT Scans, help detect the lesion and the extension of the disease. Once detected, patients usually undergo three types of treatments: surgery, chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy, and radiotherapy.
There are numerous research projects for colon cancer, specially the one in metastatic disease, which is the most advanced disease. Some therapies, such as Nivolumab and Pembrolizumab, which are very well known for lung cancer, are also being used for patients with colon cancer. Bevacizumab is another molecule commonly used for this type of cancer. Nivolumab along with Ipilimumab has also reported good results in some research projects. Research is still being conducted with other molecules and drug combinations, so that patients can have more treatment options. At Althian, we have a lot of experience working with oncology protocols, so contact us for any inquiry you may have.