Ways & How

how to diagnose colon cancer

how to diagnose colon cancer

Nearly 150,000 individuals in the U.S. are suffering from colon cancer. This disease occurs when a cancerous polyp starts to develop in the inner wall of the colon. The National Cancer Institute said that colon cancer is one of the common, chronic diseases affecting a number of Americans. Once the common signs and symptoms, such as constipation, bloating and gas, bloody stools, a feeling of fullness, inconsistent bowel movements, fatigue, nausea, and unexplained weight loss are detected, the medical processes on how to diagnose colon cancer must be applied. This disorder is also referred to as colorectal cancer since the cancer cells can eventually spread in the patient’s rectum. The right side of the colon mainly absorbs water and electrolytes while the left side is responsible for waste material storage and stool disposal. When either side is unable to function normally, something must be wrong in the colon. For a better assessment by the doctor, the patient must keep a record of his or her irregular bowel movements. All revealing symptoms must also be listed.

Then submit all information for the doctor’s analysis.

  1. Submit for a medical history interview. The doctor will likely ask questions relevant to the patient’s medical history such as previous exposure to some risk factors, if anyone in the family has been afflicted with colon cancer, eating habits, and daily lifestyle. A series of physical examinations may follow to further confirm the symptoms.

  2. Undergo organ function test and a complete blood count. The first test will initially determine if there are other organs, closely connected to the colon, that are not functioning well. The second test will determine whether or not the patient is suffering from anemia. Most individuals experiencing colon-related diseases become anemic because of the bleeding caused by the tumor.

  3. Undergo faecal occult blood testing. In this test, the patient is given a kit to collect stool samples. Thereafter, the samples will be examined for traces of blood. If there is blood, the patient is at risk of developing colon cancer. The doctor will then recommend a colonoscopy procedure.

  4. Undergo a colonoscopy test. This procedure is done by a gastroenterologist. The entire length of the colon will be examined for any sign of abnormalities, especially polyps. The procedure starts by requiring the patient to take a pain reliever and a sedative. The physician then inserts a thin tube in the anus and navigates to the colon. The tube is equipped with light and camera that look for polyps and abnormalities. The surfaces that manifest unusual growths are then removed.

  5. Undergo a sigmoidoscopy test. This procedure is, more or less, the same as the colonoscopy test. However, this is much cheaper, and the test only examines the lower part of the colon, not the entire length. Admittedly, this procedure is not accurate in determining the presence of polyps and abnormalities in the colon.

  6. Undergo a double-contrast barium enema test. This is conducted by a radiologist. A barium enema is pumped into the patient’s colon with the use of a thin tube inserted through the rectum. The barium coats the colon so it will be visible under X-ray exam. Air is then pumped into the patient’s rectum to separate the colon walls and, in effect, polyps may be found within. However, this procedure cannot remove polyps. Only a colonoscopy test can do so.

  7. Undergo a biopsy test. After conducting a colonoscopy procedure, the removed polyps will be examined for the biopsy test. The results of the test will be analyzed by a pathologist and a determination will be made whether the polyp cells are benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Individuals experiencing the tell-tale signs of colon problems are not helpless. Not all tumors are life-threatening. Once a revealing symptom is noticed, any or some of the procedures above on how to diagnose colon cancer must be applied. Remember, early detection of colon cancer increases the rate of cure and survival. Helpful  resources: Medical book  


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