Colon Cancer - Symptoms and Treatment

By Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan in Nanavati Max Institute of Cancer Care

Apr 24 , 2023 | 4 min read

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or the rectum. The colon and rectum are parts of the digestive system, where waste is stored before being expelled from the body.

My neighbourhood aunt, Mrs Lata was admitted to the best gynaecology hospital in Mumbai when she told her son about her severe abdominal discomfort. Consulting their family doctor, Mrs Lata was advised to move to the hospital facility for state-of-the-art services and a quick treatment program. After the diagnostic assessment, the reports showcased an early case of colon cancer. Her old age was not a suitable factor to tell her. Mrs Lata was not made aware of her problem, instead, her family came forward to provide her with support and love. But since there was a detailed course of treatment and it seemed to be successful, the news had to be mentioned in her. In spite of her deteriorating health, Mrs Lata’s spirit did not fade. And fortunately, her early diagnosis proved to be beneficial for effective treatment with polypectomy.

Any top gastroenterologist in India would define colon cancer as cancer that is present in the last part of the colon, this is exactly what it is. In cases when both the colon and rectum are affected by cancer, it is termed colorectal cancer. The development of colon cancer is initiated with the growth of polyps which are small benign clusters of cells inside the colon. There were certain factors in the case of Mrs Lata which made her vulnerable to colon cancer. Firstly, her age, she completed her sixty-second birthday when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Her doctor who is certainly a creditworthy professional (no doubt that Mrs Lata recommends him as the best gastrointestinal surgeon in Mumbai with a big bright smile), evaluated her medical history and came to the conclusion, the presence of non-cancerous colon polyps has aggravated her risk of acquiring colon cancer. Unlike Mrs Lata’s case, apart from old age and the presence of non-cancerous colon polyps, there are several other risk factors, namely alcohol intake, chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, diabetes, diet with low-fibre and high-fat, gene mutations linked with family histories such as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, obesity, personal or family history of colorectal cancer, racial link, radiation therapy for cancer, sedentary lifestyle, and smoking.

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Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Symptoms of colon cancer are not always similar in all cases of colon cancer. In the early stages of colon cancer, the condition is asymptomatic in the majority of cases. With the progression of colon cancer, the symptoms start to develop with different manifestations in different cases. The likely symptoms of colon cancer can be:

•    Abdominal discomfort
•    Constipation
•    Diarrhea
•    Fatigue
•    Issues with bowel movements
•    Pain in the abdomen (or gas)
•    Presence of blood in the stool
•    Rectal bleeding 
•    Weakness
•    Weight loss 

The best gastroenterologist advises consulting a doctor if any of the above-mentioned symptoms are experienced by any individual. There is a possibility of any other disease or disorder that could be manifested by these symptoms. But in any case, early diagnosis will always prove to be beneficial for the health of the patient. As for the prevention of colon cancer, the experienced Gynecology or Colorectal Surgeons in Mumbai could possibly advise implementing certain lifestyle changes for healthy living such as:

  • Smoking is a curse to live; it is detrimental to health. Quitting smoking can put you away from risk of many life-threatening conditions including colon cancer. For people who are unable to quit smoking on their own, take professional help. 
  • Alcohol intake is fine until it is regulated as per a doctor’s advice.
  • Your diet should have a well-balanced composition of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Make sure that fruits and vegetables are fresh and avoid junk food. 
  •  A sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for colon cancer. Do include sessions of daily exercises. 
  • Eat healthy for a healthy weight. Obesity can cause many complications out of which colon cancer is only one.
  • People above fifty years of age or with a family history of the colon (and/or colorectal cancer) should go to a Colon Cancer Specialist in Mumbai for colon cancer screening. 
  • Individuals with a high risk of colon cancer should contact the contact Colorectal Cancer treatment Hospital in Mumbai, preventive medications can be recommended to minimise the risk of colon cancer or stop the development of cancerous polyps inside the colon. 


Medically Reviewed

Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan (Director - Hepato-Pancreatic-Biliary Surgery & Gastrointestinal Oncology)

Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan is the Director - Hepato-Pancreatic-Biliary Surgery & Gastrointestinal Oncology and one of the finest Oncosurgeons of India. With an experience of over 22 years, he specialises in surgeries for cancers of liver, bile duct and gall bladder, pancreatic resections for pancreatic cancer, colorectal, stomach, oesophageal and intestinal cancer, neuroendocrine tumours, abdominal sarcomas, retroperitoneal tumours, vascular resections and reconstructions in HPB tumours.