What is colon cancer?
Colon cancer is a malignancy that begins in the colon, or in the large intestine. The large intestine is an organ which is a long, tube-shaped structure located near the rear end of the digestive system. The colon plays an important role in digestion, since it is responsible for the extraction of some key fluids and nutrients from all consumed food. The colon is also an important unit in the process of excreting solid waste from the human body, via the rectum.
How does colon cancer start developing?
Colon cancer is known to start forming as benign polyps. Benign polyps are either flat, or knob-shaped growths that are present on the inner lining of the large intestine. Occasionally, these growths are known to cause symptoms such as unexplained bleeding (the presence of blood in the stool), or constipation. However, in most cases, these polyps produce no early symptoms at all – which is why most people may not even realize when these signs are present.
Some polyps may continue to remain benign, which means that they will exist as non-cancerous masses. Some of these tumors can become malignant, or cancerous. These polyps are often detected using a procedure called a ‘colonoscopy’. In most cases, if doctors find the presence of one or more polyps during a routine colonoscopy, they are removed at the same procedure.
Who is at risk for colon cancer?
Anyone can develop colon cancer, especially if there is a known family history of colon cancer. The kind of lifestyle that a person leads, also plays a big role in the occurrence of colon cancer. Obesity has proven links with the development of polyps.
However, if there is no prior history of polyps, regular screenings should begin at the age of 45 (as per 2018 American Cancer Society guidelines). Also, screenings should be performed if a person starts demonstrating symptoms such as the narrowing of stools, persistent abdominal pain or an unexplained change in bowel movement patterns.
While describing symptoms, patients should aim to provide as many details as possible, for instance – the date when the pain began, the exact frequency of bowel movements, and severity of the pain. Most people with no family history of colon cancer are always advised to get screened after the age of 50, because the risk of developing colon cancer gets significantly higher after the age of 50.
We find the best oncologists for you
Dr. Shankar VangipuramIndia Director Radiation Oncology HCG Hospitals Trained at: M.D Anderson Cancer Center; Tata Memorial Hospital
Dr. Neelesh ReddyIndia Senior Medical Oncologist Columbia Asia Hospital Trained at: Adyar Cancer Institute
Dr. Vamsi KrishnaIndia Senior Medical Oncologist Apollo Hospitals Trained at: Tata Memorial Hospital
Dr. Sandeep NayakIndia Senior Surgical Oncologist Fortis Hospital Trained at: Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute
Dr. Anil KamathIndia Senior Surgical Oncologist Apollo Hospitals Trained at: Tata Memorial Hospital
Dr. CN PatilIndia Senior Medical Oncologist Apollo Hospitals Trained at: Adyar Medical Institute
Dr. Upasana SaxenaIndia Senior Radiation Oncologist HCG Hospitals Trained at: Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute
Dr. Amit K. JotwaniIndia Senior Radiation Oncologist Continental Hospitals Trained at: Yashoda Cancer Institute
Dr. AVS SureshIndia Senior Medical Oncologist, Hemato-Oncologist Continental Hospitals Trained at: Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology
Dr. Aditya GuptaIndia Director of Neurosurgery Artemis Hospital Trained at: All India Institute of Medical Sciences
Dr. Chiramana HarithaIndia Senior Medical Oncologist Apollo Hospitals Trained at: CMC Vellore
Dr. Mishil ParikhIndia Senior Orthopedic Oncologist Apollo Hospitals Trained at: Padmashree Dr. D.Y.Patil Medical College
Dr. Sandeep BatraIndia Senior Medical Oncologist Max Superspeciality Hospital Trained at:PGIMS
Dr. Trinanjan BasuIndia Senior Radiation Oncologist HCG Hospitals Trained at: Tata Memorial Hospital
Dr. Gagan SainiIndia Senior Radiation Oncologist Max Superspeciality Hospital Trained at: All India Institute of Medical Sciences
Dr. Srinivas ChilukuriIndia Senior Radiation Oncologist Apollo Proton Cancer Centre Trained at: Tata Memorial Hospital
Dr. Raghava Kashyap. KIndia Consultant Nuclear Medicine Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital Trained at: Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research
Dr. Rahul KanakaIndia Head of Oncology Sparsh Hospital Trained at: Adyar Cancer Institute
Dr. Balasubramanian VIndia Senior Surgical Oncologist Billroth Hospital Trained at: The Cancer Institute (WIA)
Dr. Gurpreet LambaUSA Senior Medical Oncologist Hackensack Meridian Health Trained at: New York Medical College
Dr. Amol RaoUSA Senior Medical Oncologist OC Blood and Cancer Care Trained at: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Rajesh IyerUSA Chairman of Radiation Oncology Community Medical Center Trained at: Temple University Medical School
Our cancer experts have an average in-field experience of 10+ years
Each of our oncologists has treated more than 10,000 cancer patients
Our doctors are trained at top cancer institutes such as Tata Memorial