If you’re wondering whether an abdominal ultrasound can detect colon cancer, the answer is a resounding yes! This powerful imaging modality is able to pick up even the smallest of tumors in the colon, making it a vital tool in the fight against this disease.
What is a colon cancer?
Cancer of the colon is a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine (the colon). It is the third most common type of cancer in men and women in the United States. Most colon cancers begin as small, noncancerous (benign) growths called polyps. Some types of polyps can eventually develop into cancer.
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
Most people with early colon cancer don’t have any symptoms. This is one reason why screening tests, like colonoscopy, are so important. They can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
If the cancer has grown into the Muscularis layer of the colon or rectum, some bleeding may occur. This can show up in several different ways:
-Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement). This might make your stool appear dark red or maroon, black and sticky, or tarry.
-Bright red blood from your rectum or anus. You might notice this when you wipe or on toilet paper.
-Pain or cramps in your abdomen.
How is colon cancer diagnosed?
There are several ways that colon cancer can be diagnosed, including a physical examination, stool tests, imaging tests, and a biopsy.
A physical examination may reveal signs of colon cancer, such as rectal bleeding or a lump in the abdomen. Stool tests can help to detect blood in the stool, which may be a sign of colon cancer.
Imaging tests, such as CT scans and MRI scans, can help to create a detailed picture of the inside of the body and may reveal tumors or other abnormalities. A biopsy involves taking a small sample of tissue from the Colon to be examined for cancerous cells.
What are the risk factors for colon cancer?
Age. The risk of colon cancer goes up with age. Most people who are diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50.
Family history. You are at higher risk if you have a close relative (parent, sibling or child) who has been diagnosed with colon cancer or adenomatous polyps.
Personal history. If you have had colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps, you are at higher risk for colon cancer.
Ethnicity. African-Americans have a greater risk of colon cancer than whites. Hispanics/Latinos are at lower risk than non-Hispanics/Latinos. Asians and Pacific Islanders have the lowest risk of all.
Lifestyle risks. These include smoking, being overweight or obese, drinking alcohol, eating a diet high in processed meats and low in fruits and vegetables, and having little to no physical activity.
Can colon cancer be prevented?
Yes, colon cancer can be prevented. There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk, including:
- getting screened for colon cancer
- eating a healthy diet
- exercising regularly
- not smoking
- limiting your alcohol intake
What are the treatments for colon cancer?
The most common treatments for colon cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
What is the prognosis for colon cancer?
The overall 5-year relative survival rate for colon cancer is 64%. However, this number does not reflect what percentage of people are cured. For stage I colon cancers, the 5-year relative survival rate is 92%. However, for stage IV colon cancers, the 5-year relative survival rate is 11%.
What are the research developments for colon cancer?
Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer worldwide, and the second leading cause of death from cancer. In the United States, it is estimated that there will be over 140,000 new cases of colon cancer and over 50,000 deaths from the disease in 2020.
There have been significant research developments in the field of colon cancer in recent years. New treatments and diagnostic tools have been developed, and survival rates have increased.
Some of the most promising research developments include:
-The development of immunotherapy drugs that target specific proteins on cancer cells. These drugs have shown promise in early clinical trials and are currently being investigated in large-scale clinical trials.
-The use of targeted therapy drugs that block the growth of blood vessels to cancer tumors. These drugs have shown promising results in clinical trials and are currently approved for use in certain types of colon cancer.
-The development of new diagnostic tools, such as stool tests that can detect early signs of colon cancer. These tests are currently being investigated in large-scale clinical trials.
-The use of genetic testing to identify people at high risk for developing colon cancer. This information can help guide decisions about screening and prevention strategies.