What is intestinal cancer?
Intestinal cancer is one of the most common malignant tumors in gastrointestinal tract, whose incidence is tightly after stomach cancer and esophageal cancer (takes up around 60%). Its patients are mostly older than 40 years old and the victims under the age of 30 only account for 15%. The incidence ratio between male and female is 2-3:1.
Normally intestinal cancer in early stage would mainly present the symptom of painless stools with blood and the blood is red or fresh, which is similar to the symptom of early internal hemorrhoid.
After that is the change in bowel movement. Some patients develop constipation and diarrhea while some would have tenesmus. Patients would defecate mucopurulent and bloody stools, at the same time the shape of stools become slender.
Apart from this, stenosis of intestinal cavity occurs because of cancer infiltration around intestinal wall. If this occurs in juncture of rectum and sigmoid colon, the cancer mostly is scirrhus of stenotic type, from which can cause intestinal obstruction and irritation and so on.
When intestinal cancer develops to late stage, the blood in stool changes to dark red and the stools present mucous bloody stools or bloody purulent stools.
Besides the symptoms mentioned above in late stage, intestinal cancer also encroaches on tissues and organs around like bladder and prostate to cause frequency, urgency and difficulty of urination. A patient can even develop pain in sacral and waist when the cancer attacks lumbosacral plexus.
The cause of intestinal cancer
1. Heredity. Some intestinal cancer cases are caused from heredity that the people with related family history are tending to develop intestinal cancer. Some enteric adenomas get high heritability because of dominant inheritance of autosome.
3. Intestinal diseases. The intestinal diseases like chronic and acute intestinal inflammation, polyp of colon and ulcer can damage intestinal functions and lead to canceration.
4. Other affections. Parasitic diseases like schistosomiasis can result in injure of intestinal mucosa, from which can lead to ulcer and inflammation and even develop to adenomatoid and cancer.
5. Insufficiency of microelements. When a person is lack of molybdenum would increase his rick to develop intestinal cancer.
How to diagnose intestinal cancer?
1.X-ray includes barium meal for whole gastrointestinal tract and intestinal enema. Barium enema is more suitable to colon cancer patients. To the small tumors detection,
Sigmoscopy. Straight hood sigmoscopy in longest size is 30cm. It is convenient to detect the tumor while it can also take samples for biopsy visually. So sigmoscopy is good to screen the lesions under sigmoid colon.
Fibercoloscopy. It gets the length from 120-180cm and is bendable to observe the whole colon. Besides, fibercoloscopy is also used for electric knife, electric coagulation and biopsy to detect the lesions early. A patient can have fibercoloscop if above mentioned examinations do not work for final diagnosis.
3. Ultrasound scan, CT scan help to confirm the position and size of tumors, as well as the tumor condition related to other tissues and metastases to lymph and liver.
4. Carcino-embryonic antigen assay (CEA). CEA is the most important and widely applied testing item in screen rectal cancer. It is helpful to comment treatment effect and prognosis, constant tests of blood serum CEA can perform to observe the effect of surgery and chemotherapy.
Stage of intestinal cancer
A doctor would confirm the stage of intestinal cancer if one is diagnosed through other examinations, since the most effective treatment is chosen according to cancer staging.
Stage 0: The cancer has not grown beyond the mucosa.
Stage I: In this stage, the disease has grown beyond the mucosa, but has not spread beyond the small intestine to other sites or lymph nodes.
Stage II: The cancer has grown into or through the intestinal wall. At this stage, it may or may not have reached nearby organs. There is no evidence of spread of disease to lymph nodes or distant sites.
Stage III: In stage III of intestinal cancer, the disease has metastasized to nearby lymph nodes. The tumor may be any size (T1 through T4). The cancer may or may not have reached nearby organs. Distant sites like the lung or liver remain unaffected.
Stage IV: The cancer may be any size and has spread throughout the body to distant sites like the liver, lung or lining of the abdominal cavity.
How to treat intestinal cancer?
Currently most rectal cancer cases are treated with combined treatment, which includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy and so on.
1. Surgery is the main treatment for intestine cancer and especially for the cases in stage 0. And chemotherapy, radiotherapy or traditional Chinese medicine can be taken as the assisted treatment before or after surgery.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy performed before surgery can help to cut down the size of tumor and improve the surgical removal rate, while after surgery they can kill the cancer remaining to reduce the chance of recurrence and metastases. To the patients from late stages, chemotherapy is a palliative therapy to improve the living quality of patients and extend their lives. However, they also bring patients obvious side effects like nausea, vomit and so on.
3. Target therapy. Molecular target therapy is a new treatment being proved of effectiveness. It makes the anticancer medicine target cancer cells according to the position of tumors while it affects normal tissues little. Compared to traditional chemotherapy, target therapy takes lighter untoward effect on patients.
4. Traditional Chinese medicine as one therapy in combined treatment for intestinal cancer is especially for the patients who cannot take surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or the recurrent ones.
5. Interventional therapy is a kind of local treatment through a small trauma on skin, vessels and other physical channels, under the guide of imaging devices (cacography device, fluoroscopic machine, CT, MR and ultrasound B). It is an easy, safe and effective treatment of small trauma, less complications and fast recovery.
6. Photodynamic therapy as a nontraumatic treatment is to kill cancer cells efficiently by photo sensitizer and laser. It is totally different from surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, but a new treatment applicable to intestinal cancer.
How to prevent from intestinal cancer?
Diet is the most important role in intestinal cancer prevention.
First a people should regulate diet structure reasonably, increases the intake of vitamins and microelements, try to have the food that are rich in proteins, fat and are high calories.
Second, get rid of unhealthy habits like abusing alcohol, smoking, staying up across the night, binge overeating and so on.
Third is positively to treat constipation, ulcerative colitis, polypoid ulcer and other common intestinal diseases.
The last is to have proper physical exercise regularly to enhance immunity.
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