Colon Cancer - Malpractice Lawyers Compensation ClaimLEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
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Colon Cancer - Medical Malpractice
Colon cancer involves cancer of the rectum or large intestine. It begins as a benign polyp in the colon that begins to overgrow and turn cancerous. It takes several years before a polyp becomes a cancer; such polyps are known as adenomatous polyps. Not all adenomatous polyps turn into cancer but a few do so they should be removed as a precaution during a colonoscopy procedure. A colonoscopy is a camera study of the colon that both prevents colon cancer and removes early cancerous polyps.
There are several symptoms of colon cancer. These include having a change in bowel habits such as constipation and diarrhoea that persists for several weeks or longer. Blood can show up in the stool or you can have black, tarry stools, depending on the location of the cancer and the amount of bleeding. There can be the feeling of incomplete emptying of the colon when defecating and you can notice weight loss without really trying. Symptoms can be absent in the early stages. If you have a family history of cancer or if you have some early symptoms, you should seek medical advice.
Your risk for colon cancer goes up if you have flat or polypoid (finger-like) polyps in the colon. There are genetic mutations that trigger a familial type of colon cancer and that cause you to have colon cancer at a younger age. The two main syndromes are familial adenomatous polyposis syndrome or Lynch syndrome. The first involves having many polyps and a high degree of colon cancer before the age of 40. Lynch syndrome is a non-polyposis syndrome that causes an increase in colon cancer risk before the age of 50. Both are hereditary forms of colon cancer risk. Lynch syndrome can contribute to other types of cancer as well.
Risk factors for colon cancer include older age (greater than 50), family history, being of African-American descent or having history of colon polyps. If you have any of these risks, you should be screened for colon cancer-sometimes before the recommended age of 50 years. High fat, low fibre diets contribute to getting colon cancer as is being diabetic, having a sedentary lifestyle or being obese. Smoking and use of alcohol can increase the risk of colon cancer. Radiation to the stomach area for another cancer makes your risk of colon cancer higher.
Tests for colon cancer include a colonoscopy exam. This is a camera study of the colon that is done after the colon is cleaned out. Polyps can be removed and biopsied and cancers can be seen on camera study. Other tests include the FIT test, which looks for human blood on a stool sample. An FOBT test is a test for blood on a stool sample that is less specific than a FIT test. Other tests include a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which evaluates the lower colon, and a virtual colonoscopy, which uses a CT scan and dye to outline any possible polyps that might be present on a colon wall.
There are five stages of colon cancer. Stage 0 cancer is cancer located only in the polyp and does not pass the lining of the colon. Stage I cancer means the cancer has grown into the mucosa but is not beyond the wall of the colon. Stage II cancer is when cancer has spread past the wall of the colon. Stage III involves lymph node involvement. Stage IV is metastatic colon cancer that has spread to the other body areas, such as the liver or the lung.
Treatment of colon cancer includes surgical excision of the cancer and the involved lymph nodes. The colon ends can be reattached or the person can have an ostomy for a period of time. The ends are reattached at a later date. Chemotherapy works for colon cancer, especially if it is metastatic and radiation therapy is used to kill of excess cancer cells or for single metastases. There are new targeted therapies for colon cancer cells that include Avastin, Vectibix and Erbitux.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125