Colon cancer is second only to lung cancer in causing cancer-related deaths in the United States. About 56,000 Americans die from the disease annually. While anyone can develop colon cancer, 90 percent of new cases occur in people 50 and older. People with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or offspring) who had colon cancer are two to three times more likely to develop the disease.
Safeguarding against Colon Cancer
With improvements in screening processes and medical technology, there are currently more than one million colon cancer survivors in the United States. Getting regular screenings is your best medical line of defense against colon cancer as the disease presents few symptoms before being far advanced. Various types of screenings include: CT scan, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, stool DNA test, biopsy, fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), and a double-contrast barium enema.
Along with medical screenings, there are also many lifestyle choices you can make to help prevent the development and spread of the disease. Sticking to a diet high in fiber and low in fat is recommended. Leading an active life will also help keep your body strong and healthy. And of course, abstaining from smoking and limiting alcohol consumption will assist in the prevention of the formation of cancer.
If colon cancer is detected in a patient, one or more courses of action can be used as treatment, such as:
- Local excision – only effective at very early stages, a tube equipped with a cutting tool can be inserted through the rectum into the colon
- Resection of the colon with anastomosis – if the cancer is larger, a doctor can make an incision in the abdomen, remove the cancerous section of the colon (along with a small amount of healthy tissue surrounding it) and then sew the healthy parts of the colon back together
- Resection of the colon with colostomy – if the doctor cannot sew the healthy parts of the colon back together, a stoma (opening) is made on the outside of the body, where a bag is then positioned to collect waste
- Radiofrequency ablation – use of special probe with tiny electrodes that kill cancer cells inserted through the skin or through an incision in the abdomen
- Cryosurgery (or cryotherapy) – use of instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue
- Chemotherapy – cancer killing drugs either taken orally, or through injection into vein, muscle or cerebrospinal fluid
- Radiation therapy – use of high energy X-rays or radiation (either externally or internally)
- Targeted therapy – drugs or other substances that target only cancerous cells without harming normal cells
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury or even death due to colon cancer, call 800-243-1100 to speak with a colon cancer attorney at Kline & Specter, PC today for a free evaluation of your case. The law firm has five full-time lawyers who are also medical doctors, the most of any firm in the United States. Or, visit our website to learn more about colon cancer.