There are over one hundred forty two thousand new instances of colorectal cancer found each year. It takes the lives of fifty three thousand additional men and women each year. In the last 10 years there have been advancements in the treatment options available for patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Since the cancer starts as a small growth, when it is found very early it may by and large be taken out during a colonoscopy. If the cancer grows too big to be removed during a colonoscopy the treatment gets more complicated.
What treatment methods are suggested will be based on the kind of colorectal cancer, the stage of the cancer, and issues like the age, other medical conditions, and overall wellbeing of the patient. The primary treatment for stages I through III is frequently surgery. Laparoscopic surgery has become more common for stage 1 and stage 2 colorectal cancers. There are circumstances, however, in which surgery may not be advised. This sometimes happens in certain advanced stage III and in some stage IV cases. In certain instances patients need a colostomy or ileostomy. These can change the individual’s quality of life.
When drugs are given to combat the cancer this is known as chemotherapy. Chemotherapy improves the prognosis for individuals who have had a surgical procedure to remove the cancer from the colon but are vulnerable to having the cancer come back. It can also be used without surgery. Chemotherapy is, for example, often suggested for patients with stage III colorectal cancer. Stage III is described by spread to one or more lymph node. Chemotherapy is also used to treat patients with stage IV cancer. Stage IV is characterized by spread to other organs, such as the liver or lungs. Despite the fact that at stage II the cancer has not spread beyond the colon if the person has certain risk factors or is young chemotherapy may nonetheless be advised. A variety of drugs are now frequently part of the chemotherapy regimen were not commonly available only ten years ago.
Chemotherapy may, however, have major side effects. The side effects depend on a number of factors, like which drugs are administered, the amount of chemotherapy drugs use, how long the treatment lasts, as well as the age, other medical conditions and general health of the individual. Some of the most common side effects are nausea and vomiting. Other possible side effects include mouth sores and problems with the extremities. The treating oncologist can prescribe other drugs to help combat the side effects of the chemotherapy.
Sometimes physicians may recommend chemotherapy (and perhaps radiation therapy) as the inital treatment which is then followed by surgery if the chemotherapy (and radiation therapy) sufficiently reduces the size and amount of the tumors to make surgery viable.
In the event that the treatment is effective doctors then put the individual on a monitoring program to look for any recurrence. Despite the fact that blood tests are not utilized to diagnose colorectal cancer because at the present time there do not exist any blood tests that are specific enough to be useful for diagnostic purposes, one blood test is in some cases helpful in testing for recurrence. The test, known as the CEA test, looks at the level of carcinoembryonic antigen in the lood. A percentage of patients with colorectal cancer have high CEA levels. When an individual whose CEA level was high prior to commencement of treatment and had normal CEA levels following effective treatment elevated CEA levels might signal a recurrence. Other methods for checking include imaging studies like CT scans and X-rays as well as other blood tests to check for abnormalities (such as problems developing in the liver – a common area of metastasis).
Colorectal cancer may be deadly. Detecting it early greatly raises the odds that treatment will be able to kill the cancer. The more time that passes before the cancer is treated the lower the probability that the patient will be to beat it. Likewise, advising the right treatment can also make a considerable difference. In the event that a physician does not offer chemotherapy to an individual with stage III colorectal cancer, for example, that patient will face a higher chance of the cancer coming back.
The preceding is not to be considered medical advice. Check with your physician about screening for colorectal cancer and about any symptoms or issues you may have. If a doctor failed to suggest screening or dismissed complaints of symptoms and you were subsequently diagnosed with colorectal cancer, or the physician failed to suggest suitable treatment, you ought to consult with a medical malpractice attorney to determine whether you might have a claim.