We have all experienced various forms of gastric troubles from time to time, but there are more serious forms of stomach disease that one should be aware of. Here are a few warning signs and symptoms that might indicate a tumor, or colorectal cancer.
By paying attention to your stomach whenever there is pain or whenever you notice bowel movement irregularities, one might be able to prevent more serious consequences.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains: “The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer occurs when tumors form in the lining of the large intestine. It is common in both men and women. The risk of developing colorectal cancer rises after age 50.”
Here are six signs and symptoms that may indicate that you could have a tumor in your large intestine that you should not ignore.
If you experience frequent stomachaches, have yourself tested. “Prevention is better than a cure.” Don’t ignore cramping, belly pain gas, or queasiness.
2. Feelings of weakness or fatigue
Feeling weak and always fatigued may indicate serious illnesses. This sense of exhaustion is different from the usual tiredness one experiences from work or feeling sleepy at night.
3. Rectal bleeding
The American Cancer Society states that rectal bleeding may be associated with colorectal cancer. Watch out for bloody stool, dark stool, or bright-red blood in the stool.
4. Change in bowel habits and routine
The American Cancer Society writes that one of the symptoms of colorectal cancer is “a change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool.”
5. Feeling like your bowel is never completely empty
Another symptom to take notice of is “a feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by having one,” says the American Cancer Society.
6. Sudden weight loss
If you are losing weight all the time, please don’t ignore it; your body is telling you it needs help. Go for a checkup.
The best approach to treatment for colorectal cancer depends on several factors. These include:
- the size and location of tumors and the cancer’s stage
- whether the cancer is recurrent
- the person’s overall health
Options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Also, palliative care can help manage the symptoms, such as pain, and improve the quality of life.
Surgery is the primary treatment for colorectal cancer that is limited to the colon. It aims to remove cancerous tissue, including tumors and affected lymph nodes, and prevent the cancer from spreading.
The surgeon usually reconnects the bowel after removing cancerous areas, but they may need to create a stoma for drainage into a colostomy bag. This is often temporary.
Surgery may remove all traces of early stage cancer. In the later stages, surgery cannot stop the cancer from spreading, but removing a blockage can help ease any symptoms.
Surgery for colon cancer may be open, involving a large incision. It may instead be laparoscopic, a less invasive type of surgery that requires tiny incisions. The surgeon typically uses robotic devices during the surgery.
The most commonTrusted Source types of colon cancer surgery include:
This involves removing early cancerous tissues. During the procedure, a surgeon removes polyps and some colon tissue.
A colectomy involves removing some or all of the colon. If the surgery is partial, the surgeon reattaches the remaining segments. Other names for this approach are a hemicolectomy, a partial colectomy, or a segmental resection.
A total colectomy involves removing the whole colon. This is less commonTrusted Source, and a surgeon may only recommend it if there are many polyps, for example.
Sometimes a cancerous growth blocks all or a portion of the colon. When this happens, a surgeon may place a stent to open the colon.
If a stent will not work or the blockage is serious, they may perform a colectomy and connect one end of the remaining portion of the colon into a stoma through which stool can flow.
Chemotherapy drugs destroyTrusted Source cancerous cells throughout the body. This may help treat colon cancer or shrink a tumor before surgery. It can also help relieve symptoms in the later stages.
This approach, however, can have widespread adverse effects, as it affects both cancerous and healthy cells.
This involves taking drugs that target specific proteins to slow or prevent the growthTrusted Source of cancerous cells.
The adverse effects are usually less severe than those of chemotherapy because these drugs only target cancerous cells.
This drug-based treatment helps the immune system detect and eliminateTrusted Source cancerous cells. It may benefit some people with advanced colorectal cancer.
Possible adverse effects include an autoimmune reaction, in which the body mistakenly attacks its own cells.
This involves using high-energy beams of radiation to destroy cancerous cells and prevent them from multiplying.
A doctor may recommend it to help shrink a tumor before surgery for rectal cancer. They may also use it alongside chemotherapy, in an approach known as chemoradiation.
It can have long- and short-term adverse effects.
Ablation involves using microwaves, radiofrequency, ethanol, or cryosurgery to destroyTrusted Source a tumor without removing it.
A surgeon delivers the therapy using a probe or needle guided by ultrasound or CT imagery.
Palliative and end-of-life care
If colorectal cancer spreads to organs beyond the colon, progressing to stage 4, it is not possible to cure it. Other options may include:
- surgery to remove a blockage
- radiation therapy or chemotherapy to reduce the size of tumors
- pain relief
- treatment for side effects of medication
- hospice care