Colon cancer is when malignant cancer cells start to rapidly grow and spread throughout the walls of the colon. As the color contains several regions, the sigmoid colon is the last area of the colon that immediately connects above the anus and rectum. The left side of the colon contains four sections: first is the descending colon, the sigmoid colon, the rectum, then the anus. Once the cancer forms, it starts growing into a tumor. The tumor will spread towards other organs of the body through the body’s lymphatic system.
Sigmoid colon cancer can be diagnosed though imaging tests, colonoscopy or blood testing. There are various treatments that are recommended on an individual basis to meet the patient’s needs, depending on the overall health and how severe the condition of the disease is.
Treatments of Sigmoid Colon Cancer
The treatment of chemotherapy uses one of the strongest medications that kill cancer cells while isolating them in order to reduce the chances of dividing. This treatment can be done in the form of a pill or intravenously. It is highly recommended for patients whose cancer has spread past the colon or to the lymph nodes. Sigmoid colon cancer is also more likely to spread through to liver and lung region. Once the surgeon removes a portion of the colon, they will then evaluate the circumstances under a microscope to check for any evidence that the cancer has spread. Once the results are positive, the oncologist will recommend undergoing further treatment with chemotherapy.
The side effects of undergoing chemotherapy may include vomiting, nausea, mouth sores, hair loss as well as weight loss. This treatment may also be given in conjunction with radiation therapy and surgery.
Another option for treating sigmoid colon cancer is surgery as it depends on the location and size of the tumor. According to the Colon Cancer Resource website, sigmoid color cancer arises out of hyperplastic polyps. Physicians recommend that compliance with colonoscopy is essential for removing the polyps before they become too cancerous, once detected early on. For advanced cases, a resection may be required as its purpose is to remove the affected area of the colon as well as any surrounding tissue.
When cancer is found in the sigmoid region of the colon, the entire sigmoid is removed, meaning the descending colon is then connected to the rectum. In most cases, the majority of colon operations that are performed use laparoscopy which is a minimally invasive technique, however it is not suitable for all patients. Be sure to ask your doctor if you meet the requirements for this invasive treatment.
Lymph nodes that are located close by are also removed and tested for cancer. Once the results are positive for cancer, it is considered as a big indication that there is a high risk of cancer spreading throughout the body. For severe cases, a large section of the colon is likely to be removed – leaving patients to follow with a colostomy bag to waste collection.
This treatment involves high beam rays that destroy and kill off cancer cells. It may be received internally through surgical implantation of radioactive rods, wires, seeds or from a machine on the outside near the sigmoid region. For many cause, radiation therapy is usually used before undergoing surgery to help shrink the existing tumor and make surgery more successful. Although the side effects of radiation therapy include peeling, skin burns loss of appetite and fatigue.
After the treat, Bowel movements will become more frequent and will usually normalize itself after a year. Your doctor will likely recommend a plan to help regulate bowel movements.
As for the diet, you will need to follow a low-fiber diet for six weeks after being discharged from the hospital. Eating the right meals is imperative as this will decrease any risk of trauma to the intestines after undergoing treatment and promote natural healing. After the six-week plan is done, you will be allowed to slowly introduce fiber into your diet and increase your daily fiber intake to one serving of 20-35 grams a day.
The two year years following treatment and diagnosis is the most common time for the cancer to return. Maintaining a proper follow-up care with the oncologist, gastroenterologist and surgeon is highly important as there will be required periodic checks that will include blood tests, CT or PET scan, physical exam and colonoscopy.