The IvyGene® Colorectal Test can confirm the presence of colon cancer as early as stage 1. The technology measures the methylation status of cell-free DNA at target sites that have been demonstrated to be hypermethylated when certain cancers are present, and is a highly accurate way to confirm cancer presence. If you believe you may have colon cancer, find a provider near you today.
What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine, otherwise known as the colon. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small clumps of cells called polyps within the colon. These are usually benign in the beginning. But over time, some of these polyps can become colon cancer. These polyps are key to finding colon cancer, but they don’t show any symptoms, in most cases. That’s why it’s recommended to get regular colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer. These tests can find polyps and remove them before they turn into cancer.
What are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?
One of the problems with colon cancer is that early stages often show no symptoms to the patient. When symptoms begin to appear, they will include:
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- A change in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of the stool, lasting for over a month
- Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas, or pain
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t completely empty
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
What Causes Colon Cancer?
Cancer occurs when a cell’s DNA is damaged and becomes cancerous. This leads to rapid division of cells, even when new cells aren’t need. This accumulation of cells is a tumor.
It’s not clear why the healthy cells in the colon develop this damage in the DNA.
These are risk factors that increase a person’s odds of developing colon cancer:
- Age — Colon cancer generally occurs in people over the age of 50.
- African-American race — This genetic heritage makes for higher risk.
- Inflammatory intestinal conditions — Chronic inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease increases risk.
- Family history
- Low-fiber, high-fat diets — This is not a definite cause/effect, but some research points this way.
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Diabetes — People with insulin resistance have a higher risk
- Heavy alcohol use
- Radiation therapy for cancer — Radiation directed at the abdomen raises risk.
How Common is Colon Cancer?
Excluding skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. Lifetime risk for men is about 1 in 22 (4.49%), and about 1 in 24 for women (4.15%).
How is Colon Cancer Treated?
The methods of treatment for colon cancer depend upon the stage it is in. The three primary treatment options are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
EARLY STAGE TREATMENT »
If your cancer is small, these are minimally invasive surgery options:
- Removing polyps during a colonoscopy
- Endoscopic mucosal resection — This procedure removes larger polyps and a small amount of the lining of the colon or rectum.
- Laparoscopic surgery — If a polyp cannot be removed during a colonoscopy, it may be removed using a laparoscope.
INVASIVE COLON CANCER TREATMENT »
If your cancer has grown into or through your colon, these may be surgery options:
- Partial colectomy — This removes the part of your colon that contains the cancer, along with healthy tissue on either side. The colon or rectum is then reconnected.
- Colostomy — When reconnecting the healthy portions of the colon or rectum is not possible, a passage is created through the abdominal wall from a portion of the remaining bowel for the elimination of stool into a bag that fits securely over the opening. This may be temporary or permanent.
ADVANCED COLON CANCER TREATMENT »
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted drug therapy
- Proton beam therapy
The IvyGene® Test can confirm the presence of colon cancer as early as stage 1. Don’t wait. If you are concerned that you may have colon cancer, find an IvyGene® Test provider in your area today.