Colon Cancer

Medical worker

Colon cancer is the third most common malignancy in the United States and the second most common cancer in both men and women.

An average American has a 5% chance of developing colon cancer during his or her lifetime. During the past several decades, colon cancers have become more frequent higher up in the colon, making colonoscopy that can inspect farther in, more important for screening and diagnosis. Right-sided colon cancer rarely produces changes in bowel habits but are more likely to be the source of chronic occult bleeding that can lead to symptoms consistent with iron deficiency anemia. For this reason, the first line of defense is screening with occult stool testing.

It is sometimes called colorectal cancer because colon cancer and rectal cancers are similar in how they behave and in how they are treated. Colon cancer is a field in which a great deal of progress has recently been made. There have been major advances in screening for colon cancer, with new types of colonoscopy, capsule endoscopy, and improvement in other imaging techniques. Surgery for colon cancer has improved and it is now even possible to perform it laparoscopically. Radiation does not have much overall in treating colon cancer, but it is in integral part of treatment for rectal cancer. On the other hand, chemotherapy for both colon cancer and rectal cancer employs similar drugs. Major advances in this area include the drugs oxaliplatin, irinotecan, cetuximab, panitimumab and Avastin. Xeloda has been used for colon cancer for a long time. Most recently, the drug Zaltrapp was approved for second line therapy of colon cancer.

With these advances, people with colon cancer are living longer and have a better quality of life. We are at the cusp of an era in which colon cancer will become a chronic disease, even when it had spread, and a much more curable illness if it had not spread.

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Read more about Colon Cancer, symptoms related to Colon Cancer and the most up to date information about Colon Cancer research.

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