Tag Archives: cancer

Shama6 Shama9

The Couple Shama7

My wife Shama Hussain's critical cancer treatment is going on with few hiccups here and there. It is a long journey of approx. 24 months. It is very critical that this treatment continues till the time it is being prescribed, otherwise any sort of stoppage / hindrance would undo the medicines effects and could prove fatal for her. Hence, it is a humble request to all my / our well wishers to keep in touch and keep doing their bit so that this arduous journey of her treatment gets completed without any hiccups............. Thanks all the guys for being there for her.....

cropped-shama4.jpg

About 26 Weeks (6.5 Months) have elapsed since my wife Shama's critical cancer treatment has started. It is a long journey of approx. 24 months. It is very critical that this treatment continues till the time it is being prescribed, otherwise any sort of stoppage / hindrance would undo the medicines effects and could prove fatal for her. Hence, it is a humble request to all my / our well wishers to keep in touch and keep doing their bit with financial help so that this arduous journey of her treatment gets completed without any hiccups............. Thanks all the guys for being there for her.....

pleural-effusion   Pleural-effusion1

Pleural Effusion:

It is collection of fluid in chest / lung cavity. A person having this problem may have heaviness in chest or chest pain or breathing difficulty. The most common causes of pleural effusion are tuberculosis, heart disease, kidney diseases and lung cancer. Most of the time these patients are considered to have tuberculosis and are treated wrongly. Lung Cancer and other cancer can cause  pleural effusion too. So, if you come across with such patients, kindly ask them to get examined to rule out any possibility of Lung Cancer.

cropped-shama4.jpg

About 21 Weeks (5 Months) have elapsed since Shama's critical cancer treatment has started. It is a long journey of approx. 24 months. It is very critical that this treatment continues till the time it is being prescribed, otherwise any sort of stoppage / hindrance would undo the medicines effects and could prove fatal for her. Hence, it is a humble request to all our well wishers to keep in touch and keep doing their bit so that this arduous journey of her treatment gets completed without any hiccups............. Thanks all the guys for being there for her.....

Shama4

Bone Pain

Any body can have bone pain specially in old age. Any pain which occurs in resting state (during sleep) may be a sign of cancer. Bone pain in younger age or any bony swelling  in younger age should not be neglected. Osteosarcoma and Ewings sarcoma (type of bone cancers) usually occur in young age and are mis-diagnosed as osteomilitis (infection of bone).

Bone pain in elders specially back pain usually occurs  because of osteoporosis (decreased density of bones), but it may occur because of cancer too. In elders cancer in bones usually comes from other organs like lungs, prostate, stomach, breast etc. Therefore, kindly do not neglect bone pain and consult doctor if it persists for a long time.

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15 Weeks have elapsed since Shama's critical cancer treatment has started. It is a long journey of approx. 24 months. It is very critical that this treatment continues till the time it is being prescribed, otherwise any sort of stoppage / hindrance would undo the medicines effects and could prove fatal for her. Hence, it is a humble request to all our well wishers to keep in touch and keep doing their bit so that this arduous journey of her treatment gets completed without any hiccups............. Thanks all the guys for being there for her.....

Shama4

When cells of the lung start growing rapidly in an uncontrolled manner, the condition is called lung cancerCancer can affect any part of the lung and it's the leading cause of cancer deaths in both women and men in the United States, Canada, and China.

Lung Cancer

Two main types of lung cancer exist: small-cell lung cancer (SCLC, also called oat cell cancer) and non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Small-cell lung cancer accounts for approximately 10%-15% of all cases of lung cancer.

Small-cell lung cancer differs from non–small-cell lung cancer in the following ways:

  • Small-cell lung cancer grows rapidly.
  • Small-cell lung cancer spreads quickly.
  • Small-cell lung cancer responds well to chemotherapy(using medications to kill cancer cells) and radiation therapy (using high-dose X-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells).
  • Small-cell lung cancer is frequently associated with distinct paraneoplastic syndromes (a collection of symptoms that result from substances produced by the tumor).

Small-Cell Lung Cancer Causes

  • The predominant cause of both small-cell lung cancer and non–small-cell lung cancer is tobacco smoking. However, small-cell lung cancer is more strongly linked to smokingthan non–small-cell lung cancer.
  • Even secondhand tobacco smoke is a risk factor for lung cancer. Those living with a smoker have a 20% to 30% increase in the risk of developing lung cancer compared to people who are not exposed to second hand smoke.
  • All types of lung cancer occur with increased frequency in people who mine uranium, but small-cell lung cancer is most common. The prevalence is increased further in persons who smoke.
  • Exposure to radon (an inert gas that develops from the decay of uranium) has been reported to cause small-cell lung cancer.
  • Exposure to asbestos greatly increases the risk of lung cancer. A combination of asbestos exposure and cigarette smoking increases the risk even further.

Symptoms of Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Symptoms Lung Cancer

Persons with small-cell lung cancer typically have had symptoms for a relatively short time (eight to 12 weeks) before they visit their doctor.

The symptoms can result from local growth of the tumor, spread to nearby areas, distant spread, paraneoplastic syndromes, or a combination thereof.

  • Symptoms due to local growth of the tumor include the following:
  • Symptoms due to spread of the cancer to nearby areas include the following:
    • Hoarse voice, resulting from compression of the nerve that supplies the vocal cords
    • Shortness of breath, resulting from compression of the nerve that supplies the muscles of the diaphragm, or the lungs filling with fluid and Stridor (sound produced by turbulent flow of air through a narrowed part of the respiratory tract) resulting from compression of the trachea(windpipe) or larger bronchi (airways of the lung)
    • Difficulty swallowing, resulting from compression of theesophagus(food pipe)
    • Swelling of the face and hands, resulting from compression of the superior vena cava (vein that returns deoxygenated bloodfrom the upper body)
  • Symptoms due to distant cancer spread depend on the site of spread and can include the following:
  • Symptoms due to paraneoplastic syndromes include the following:
  • Symptoms may or may not be characteristic of a specific organ system.
  • Nonspecific symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, andweightgain or loss.
  • Severe muscle weakness.
  • Trouble with balance or walking.
  • Changes in mental status.
  • Changes in skin color, texture, and facial features.

When to Seek Medical Care

  • Consult a doctor if any of the following symptoms are present:
    • Shortness of breath
    • Coughing up blood
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Voice change
    • New coughor change in the consistency of a cough
    • Unexplained persistentfatigue
    • Unexplained deep aches or pains
  • Call 911 if any of the following symptoms are present:
    • Coughingup large amounts of blood
    • Chest pain
    • Sudden shortness of breath
    • Sudden or severe weakness of any limb
    • Sudden vision problems
    • Seizures

Exams and Tests for Lung Cancer

Exams LC-1     Exams LC-2

  • Initial exams and tests for suspected lung cancer may include the following:
    • Medical, surgical, work, and smokinghistory
    • Physical examto check for general signs of health
    • Chest X-ray
    • CT scanof the chest: An X-ray machine linked to a computer takes a series of detailed pictures of the inside of the chest from different angles. Other names of this procedure are computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
    • Thoracentesis: The lungs are enclosed in a sac. Lung cancer can cause fluid to collect in this sac. This is called pleural effusion. In people who have cancer, this fluid may contain cancer cells. The fluid is removed by a needle and examined for the presence of cancer cells.
    • Bronchoscopy: This is a procedure used to look inside the trachea (windpipe) and large airways in the lung for abnormal areas. A bronchoscope (a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a tiny camera on the end) is inserted through the mouthor nose and down the windpipe. From there, it can be inserted into the airways (bronchi) of the lungs. During bronchoscopy, the doctor looks for tumors and takes a biopsy sample (a sample of cells that is removed for examination under a microscope) from the airways.
    • Lung biopsy: If a tumor is on the periphery of the lung, it may not be seen with bronchoscopy. Instead, a biopsy sample has to be taken with the help of a needle inserted through the chest wall and into the tumor. This procedure is called a transthoracic needle biopsy.
    • Mediastinoscopy: This procedure is performed to determine the extent the tumor has spread into the mediastinum (the area of the chest between the lungs). Mediastinoscopy is a procedure in which a tube is inserted behind the breastbone through a small cut at the lowest part of the neck. Samples of the lymph nodes (small, bean-shaped structures found throughout the body) are taken from this area to look for cancer cells.
  • Once the patient has been diagnosed with lung cancer, exams and tests are performed to find out whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other organs. These tests help determine the stage of the cancer. Staging is important, because lung cancer treatmentis based on the stage of the cancer. Tests used to detect the spread of cancer may include the following:
    • Blood tests: Complete blood count-- CBC -- provides information about the type and count of different types of blood cells, serumelectrolyteskidney function, and liver function. In some cases, these tests may identify the site of metastasis. These tests are also important to assess the organ functions before starting treatment.
    • CT scan of the chest and abdomen: An X-ray machine linked to a computer takes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body from different angles. The doctor may inject a dye into a vein. A contrast agent may be given to swallow so that the organs or tissues more clearly show up on the scan.
    • MRI: MRI is an imaging technique used to produce high-quality images of the inside of the body. A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body are taken from different angles. The difference between an MRI and CT scan is that MRI uses magnetic waves, whereas CT scan uses X-rays for the procedure.
    • Radionuclide bone scan: With the help of this procedure, the doctor determines whether the lung cancer has spread to the bones. The doctor injects a minute quantity of radioactive material into the vein; this material travels through the bloodstream. If the cancer has spread to the bones, the radioactive material collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.
    • PET scan: a small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and measures the metabolismof the organs to see if the cancer has spread.

Staging

  • Staging of the cancer provides important information about the outlook of the patient's condition and helps the doctor plan the best treatment. Although other cancers are categorized from stage I to stage IV, small-cell lung cancer is classified in two stages.
    • Limited stage: In this stage, the tumor is confined to one side of the chest, the tissues between the lungs, and nearby lymph nodes only.
    • Extensive stage: In this stage, cancer has spread from the lung to other parts of the body.

Small-Cell Lung Cancer Treatment

Medical Treatment

The most effective treatment for small-cell lung cancer is chemotherapy (using medications to kill cancer cells), either alone or in combination with radiation therapy (using high-dose X-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells).

Medications

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells. These medications may be taken bymouth (orally), but they are usually injected into a vein (IV).

Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment because the drugs enter the bloodstream, travel throughout the body, and kill cancer cells wherever they are. However, some normal cells are also killed. This is responsible for some of the side effects of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is usually given at intervals to ensure that the bone marrow has recovered before the next dose of chemotherapy is given.

Extensive research and clinical trials have identified different chemotherapy medications for the treatment of small-cell lung cancer.

An oncologist (cancer specialist) recommends chemotherapy specific to the patient’s condition.

Some drugs are used alone, while some are used in combination with others for greater effectiveness. An oncologist (cancer specialist) recommends chemotherapy specific to the patient’s condition.

Treatment of limited-stage small-cell lung cancer

  • Currently, cisplatinetoposidevincristinedoxorubicin, andcyclophosphamideare the most commonly used medications for the treatment of persons with small-cell lung cancer.
  • Standard treatment of small-cell lung cancer involves combination chemotherapy with a cisplatin-containing regimen. Treatment cycles are repeated every three to four weeks. People receive treatment for four to six cycles.
  • Some doctors start radiotherapy to the chest as early as possible, while others may give it with the fourth cycle of chemotherapy.
  • Radiation and chemotherapy: Sequential-radiation treatment may be given, followed by chemotherapy.
  • However, in comparative studies, the earlier the radiation is started concurrently with chemotherapy (as early as the first cycle of chemotherapy), the better the outcome.
  • If the patient has limited disease, and has had a complete remission, of the cancer, radiation therapy may be given to the patient’sbrainto reduce the risk of small-cell lung cancer spreading to the brain. This is called prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI). It is usually given after the patient has completed the full chemotherapy, and radiotherapy (to the thorax). The radiation doses are low, and the treatment duration is short, so the side effects of this therapy are minimal.

Treatment of extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (small-cell lung cancer that remains incurable with current treatment options)

  • Persons with extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer are treated with combination chemotherapy. Currently, the combination of cisplatin or carboplatinand etoposide (PE) is the most widely used regimen.
  • Radiation therapy may be used for relief of the following symptoms:
    • Bone pain
    • Compression of the food pipe (esophagus), windpipe, spinal cord, or superior vena cava caused by tumors
    • Obstructive pneumonia caused by the tumor

Treatment of relapse of small-cell lung cancer

  • Persons who have a relapse of small-cell lung cancer have an extremely poor prognosis.
  • If the disease does not respond to treatment or progresses after initial treatment (called "refractory disease") or if the disease relapses within six months of completion of therapy, the person has little chance of responding to additional chemotherapy. The most common drug used in this setting is topotecan.
  • Persons whose cancer does not progress for more than six months may be given additional chemotherapy, including re-treatment with their original chemotherapy regimen.
  • Persons with relapsed or refractory small-cell lung cancer may enroll in a clinical trial. For information about ongoing clinical trials, visit the National Cancer Institute's Clinical Trials.

Other drugs may be given to prevent and treat adverse effects of radiation, chemotherapy, or the cancer itself, such as nausea or vomiting. Pain medications are also important to relieve pain due to cancer or its treatment.

Surgery

Surgery plays little, if any, role in the management of small-cell lung cancer because almost all cancers have spread by the time they are discovered.

The exceptions are the relatively small number of people (less than 15%) whose cancer is discovered at a very early stage of the disease, when the cancer is confined to the lung without any spread to the lymph nodes. However, surgery alone is not considered curative, so chemotherapy is also given. Sometimes radiation therapy will also be needed if the cancer had spread to the nearby lymph nodes.

Other Therapy

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of high-dose X-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation can be given from outside the body using a machine (external radiation therapy), or it can be given with the help of radiation-producing materials that are implanted inside the body (brachytherapy).

Radiation therapy can be curative (kills all cancer cells), prophylactic (reduces the risk of cancer spreading to the area to which it is given), or palliative (helps reduce suffering).

Follow-up

  • Patients who are receiving chemotherapy require close monitoring for side effects and response to therapy.
  • A blood workup, including CBC (complete blood count), is needed prior to each cycle of chemotherapy to ensure that the bone marrow has recovered before the next dose of chemotherapy is given.
  • Kidney function is monitored, especially if the patient is taking cisplatin, as it can damage thekidneys. Also, carboplatin's dosage is based upon kidney function.
  • The patient will undergo a CT scan to assess their response to treatment
  • Other tests are performed to monitor liver function and electrolytes -- especially sodium andmagnesium levels -- due to the effects of the cancer and its treatment.

Palliative and terminal care

Because small-cell lung cancer is diagnosed in most people when it is not curable, palliative care becomes important. The goal of palliative and terminal care is to manage pain and discomfort and enhance quality of life.

Palliative care not only focuses on comfort but also addresses the concerns of the patient’s family and loved ones. Caregivers may include family and friends in addition to doctors, nurses, and other health careprofessionals.

Lung Cancer Prevention

Lung Cancer Prevention

Unlike many other cancers, lung cancer is associated with known risk factors for the disease. The predominant cause of lung cancer is tobacco smoking; therefore, the most important means of preventing lung cancer is to quit smoking.

Products that are available to help quit smoking include nicotine gum, medicated nicotine sprays or inhalers, nicotine patches, and oral drugs. In addition, group therapy and behavioral training further increase the chances of quitting.

For information about how to quit smoking, visit the following links:

Other risk factors for lung cancer include asbestos, radon, and uranium exposure. Take precautions to reduce or eliminate exposure to such harmful substances.

Outlook for Small-Cell Lung Cancer

The success of treatment depends on the stage of small-cell lung cancer.

In most people with small-cell lung cancer, the disease has already spread to other organs of the body by the time it is diagnosed.

People with small-cell lung cancer in the advanced stage cannot be cured. They usually survive less than one year.

Treatment may be moderately successful for persons with limited-stage disease. In those whose lung cancer is limited to the lung, the five year survival rate is about 52 percent.

The overall 5-year survival rate for persons with small-cell lung cancer is less than 20%. Also, long-term survivors have an increased change of having cancer again.

Shama4

11 Weeks have elapsed since Shama's critical cancer treatment has started. It is a long journey of approx. 24 months. It is very critical that this treatment continues till the time it is being prescribed, otherwise any sort of stoppage / hindrance would undo the medicines effects and could prove fatal for her. Hence, it is a humble request to all our well wishers to keep in touch and keep doing their bit so that this arduous journey of her treatment gets completed without any hiccups............. Thanks all the guys for being there for her.....

 Dr-PKB1            Dr-PKB2

The Messiah of Cancer Patients. A very great and Noble Soul. The Best Oncologist available to Cancer Patients in Northern India. He is Dr. Praveen Kumar Bansal. Director Medical Oncology at "ASIAN INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL SCIENCES" Badkal Flyover Road, Faridabad, Haryana. It is a Super Speciality Hospital for Cancer Treatment. Kindly consult him especially if you are losing Hope In Cancer Treatment. You will realize the difference between good and the very best.

Kindly Like and Share this Blog, so that more and more Cancer Patients can benefit from his extraordinary skills and expertise.

The Contact Detail of Dr. Praveen Kumar Bansal - +91-9650099244 (He is always available on this no. He always picks the phone). The Hospital also has a website http://www.aimsindia.com

 

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Inside your abdominal cavity is the long, tubular digestive tract. The second part of this tube -- the large intestine -- is composed of the colon, which stretches 4 feet to 6 feet, and the rectum, which is only 4 inches to 6 inches long.

The inner lining of this "colorectal tube" can be a fertile breeding ground for small tumors, called polyps (Figure 1). About a quarter of all adults in the U.S. older than age 50 will have at least one colorectal polyp. Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps in glandular tissue of the intestinal lining.

Most polyps are benign, but at least one type is known to be precancerous. These are called adenomatous polyps.

The size of the polyp correlates with the development of Cancer. Polyps less than 1 centimeter in size have a slightly greater than a 1% chance of becoming cancer, but those 2 centimeters or greater have a 40% chance of transforming into cancer. Overall, the incidence is about 5%. Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps in glandular tissue of the intestinal lining.

understanding-colorectal-cancer-basics_1

If colorectal cancer is diagnosed and treated early while the tumor is still localized, the disease is highly curable, with five-year survival rates of about 90%. If the tumor continues to grow, cancer can spread directly through the bowel wall to surrounding lymph nodes, tissues, and organs, as well as into the bloodstream.

Once the cancer spreads to lymph nodes or other organs, successful treatment becomes more difficult. Depending on how advanced the disease is, five-year survival rates range from 9% to 93%.

Cancers of the colon and rectum are the third most common cancer in the U.S., with approximately 150,000 cases diagnosed each year. Like many cancers, colorectal cancer is of particular concern for people older than age 50.

Although diagnosis is often possible at an early stage, many people delay seeking medical care because they are embarrassed or fearful of symptoms related to their bowels. Risk increases significantly after age 50 and continues to increase with age.

What Causes Colorectal Cancer?
The exact cause of colorectal cancer is not known. But there are several risk factors for the disease.

  • Other diseases. Colorectal cancer is strongly associated with certain other diseases. Those people considered at high risk include anyone with a personal or family history of colon polyps or colon cancer, inflammatory disease of the colon such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, and cancers of the pancreas, breast, ovaries, or uterus.
  • Heredity. As with any cancer, susceptibility to colorectal cancer is at least partly determined by genetic makeup. A few people inherit medical conditions, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), MYH-associated polyposis (MAP), Gardner's syndrome, Turcot's syndrome, Peutz-Jagher's syndrome, juvenile polyposis, and Cowden's disease. In all of these disorders, colon polyps develop at an early age and unless treated, these people are almost certain to develop colorectal cancer.
  • Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer. The disease extends from generation to generation and causes a person to develop colon cancer. This disease is associated with other cancers including endometrial, small bowel, upper urinary tract, bladder, ovary, stomach, bile duct, skin, and some pancreatic cancers. This is also known as the Lynch Syndrome.
  • Diet. Diet also contributes to the risk of colorectal cancer, although the cause-and-effect relationship is still unclear. People whose diets are high in fruits and vegetables seem to have a reduced risk. Many studies implicate animal fat and protein as promoters of colorectal cancer, although researchers are cautious about drawing any definite conclusions. Some studies show that regularly eating red meat, which is rich in saturated fat and protein, increases risk, while others find no connection. Some scientists note that fat is the main culprit, while others suspect protein. Others contend that it's not the fat and protein themselves, but the way they are cooked. They note that fats and protein cooked at high temperatures -- especially when broiled and barbecued -- can produce a host of potentially carcinogenic substances linked to colorectal cancer.
  • Chemical exposure. Heavy exposure to certain chemicals, including chlorine -- which in small amounts is commonly used to purify drinking water -- may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Exposure to asbestos is thought to be potentially harmful because it has been implicated in causing formation of polyps in the colon.
  • History of certain types of surgery. Surgeries such as ureterosigmoidostomy, which is performed in the treatment of bladder cancer, and a cholecsytecomy (the removal of the gallbladder). Some studies show surgery of the bladder may lead to a risk for colon cancer development, but other studies do not.
  • History of colon cancer. A prior case of colon cancer increases the risk of a second colon cancer, especially if the first cancer was diagnosed before the age of 60.
  • Smoking and alcohol intake of more than 4 drinks per week increases the risk of developing colon cancer.
  • Family history. Those with a first-degree relative with colorectal cancer have an increased risk of the disease. The risk increases if more than one first-degree relative has colon cancer.
  • Radiation. Prior radiation increases the risk of cancer to the radiated tissue only.

Understanding Colorectal Cancer

1

Colorectal Cancer: What Is It?

When doctors find colorectal cancer early, it’s highly curable. It happens when abnormal cells grow in the lining of the large intestine (also called the colon) or rectum. This is a common cancer in both men and women. It has the second highest rate of cancer deaths in the U.S.

2

What Are Polyps?

Colorectal cancers often start out as polyps -- harmless growths on the inside of the intestines. The two most common types of intestinal polyps are adenomas and hyperplastic polyps. They form when there are problems with the way cells grow and repair the lining of the colon. Most polyps stay harmless, but some can turn cancerous. Removing them early prevents the disease.

3

Risk Factors You Can't Control

Your risk of colorectal cancer depends on your family history and lifestyle. Things you can't control include:

  • Age -- most people with it are older than 50
  • Polyps or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • History of ovarian or breast cancer

 4

Risk Factors You Can Control

You can control some things that raise the risk of colorectal cancer. Try to avoid these:

  • Diet high in red or processed meats, or those cooked at high temperatures
  • Obesity (having too much fat around the waist)
  • Not exercising enough
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use

5

What Are the Symptoms?

Colorectal cancer doesn’t have early warning signs, so it's important to get screened. Finding it early means it's more curable. As the disease gets worse, you may see blood in your stool or have pain in your belly, a change in bowel habits (like constipation or diarrhea), unexplained weight loss, or fatigue. By the time these symptoms appear, tumors tend to be bigger and harder to treat.

6

Tests that Find Colorectal Cancer

Screening tests are key to finding it early. Starting at age 50, most people should have a colonoscopy every 10 years. This test uses a tube with a tiny camera to look at the whole colon and rectum. It not only finds tumors early, but can also prevent colorectal cancer by removing polyps (shown here).

7

Virtual Colonoscopy

One type of colonoscopy uses a CT scan to show a 3-D model of your colon. Called virtual colonoscopy, the test can show polyps or other problems without actually placing a camera inside your body. The main disadvantage is that if your doctor finds polyps, you would still need a real colonoscopy to take them out. Your doctor may suggest you have the virtual kind once every 5 years.

8

Barium Enema

Barium enema X-rays allow your doctor a glimpse at the inside of the colon and rectum. It’s another way to find polyps, tumors, or other changes in your intestines. Seen here is an X-ray that shows an "apple core" tumor blocking the colon. Like in a virtual colonoscopy, doctors follow up any abnormalities with a regular colonoscopy. Your doctor may suggest you have a barium enema once every five years.

9

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Instead of a colonoscopy, your doctor may recommend flexible sigmoidoscopy. This test uses a slender tube to look inside your rectum and the bottom part of your colon. The tube has a light and a camera and shows polyps and cancer. If your doctor says this is the right test for you, you should get one every 5 years.

10

Fecal Blood Tests

The fecal occult blood test and fecal immunochemical test can show whether you have blood in your stool, which can be a sign of cancer. You give samples of your stool to the doctor to study. You may have one of these tests in the years that you don’t have a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. If your doctor says one of the fecal blood tests is right for you, you should take it every year.

11

An At-Home Choice: DNA Test

A new test called Cologuard looks for blood or suspicious DNA in your stool sample. The test is very accurate at finding colon cancer, but if it does, you still need to follow up with a colonoscopy. Cologuard can’t take the place of a colonoscopy, and it’s so new that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force doesn’t have guidelines for it yet. A doctor can write a prescription for Cologuard in most U.S. states.

12

The Right Diagnosis

If a test shows a possible tumor, the next step is a biopsy. During the colonoscopy, your doctor takes out polyps and gets tissue samples from any parts of the colon that look suspicious. Experts study the tissue under a microscope to see whether or not it is cancerous. Shown here is a color-enhanced, magnified view of colon cancer cells.

13

The Stages of Colorectal Cancer

Experts "stage" any cancers they find -- a process to see how far the cancer has spread. Higher stages mean you have a more serious case of cancer. Tumor size doesn’t always make a difference. Staging also helps your doctor decide what type of treatment you get.

  • Stage 0 -- Cancer is only in the innermost lining of the colon or rectum.
  • Stage I -- Cancer has grown into the muscle layer of the colon or rectum.
  • Stage II -- Cancer has grown into or through the outermost layer of the colon or rectum.
  • Stage III -- Cancer has spread to one or more lymph nodes in the area.
  • Stage IV -- Cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, lung, or bones.

14

Survival Rates

The outlook for your recovery depends on the stage of your cancer. The “5-year survival rate” means the percentage of people who live 5 years or more after being diagnosed. Stage I has a 74% 5-year survival rate, while stage IV has a 5-year survival rate of only 6%.

15

Can Surgery Help Me?

Surgery has a very high cure rate in the early stages of colorectal cancer. In all but the last stage, doctors remove the tumors and surrounding tissue. If they are big, your doctor may need to take out an entire piece of your colon or rectum. If the cancer affects your liver, lungs, or other organs, surgery probably won’t cure you. But it may help reduce your symptoms.

16

Fighting Advanced Cancer

Colorectal cancer can still sometimes be cured even if it has spread to your lymph nodes (stage III). Treatment typically involves surgery, radiation (shown here), and chemotherapy. If the cancer comes back or spreads to other organs, it will probably be harder to cure. But radiation and chemotherapy may still reduce symptoms and help you live longer.

17

Will Chemo Make Me Feel Bad?

Newer chemotherapy drugs are less likely to make you sick. There are also medicines that can help you control your nausea.

18

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) uses intense heat to burn away tumors. Guided by a CT scan, a doctor inserts a needle-like device into a tumor and the surrounding area. RFA can destroy some tumors that can’t be surgically removed, like in the liver. Chemotherapy can work with RFA.

19

Prevent Colorectal Cancer With Diet

You can take steps to dramatically lower your odds of getting colorectal cancer. Eat a nutritious diet, get enough exercise, and control your body fat. Those habits prevent 45% of colorectal cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables, light on processed and red meat, and with whole grains instead of refined grains. That will help you keep a healthy weight.

20

Prevent Cancer With Exercise

Adults who stay active seem to have a powerful weapon against colorectal cancer. In one study, the most active people were 24% less likely to have the cancer than the least active. It didn't matter whether what they did was work or play. The American Cancer Society recommends exercising 5 or more days a week for at least 30 minutes a day. Vigorous exercise gives you even more benefits in less time -- 20 minutes 3 or 4 days a week.