Diagnosing Symptoms of Colon Cancer

The symptoms of colon cancer are not always easy to link to the disease, but some knowledge about them can help patients identify which symptoms should be brought to the attention of cancer specialists. Since the colon is part of the digestive system, when a cancer hits it, the earliest symptoms will affect a person’s digestive process. Unfortunately, since stomach upsets can be common and may not alert a person of an underlying disease, colon cancer is not easy to identify. This is why many cancer specialists recommend that people should get regular screening especially once they hit the age of 50 when the risk for colon cancer significantly increases.

Local Symptoms of Colon Cancer

When the symptoms start manifesting, they often come from either of two varieties: local and systemic. Local symptoms are those that affect the colon itself, which means they also affect the patient’s bathroom habits. These include abnormal changes in bowel movement, constipation, diarrhea, or both in an intermittent/alternating schedule, and bloody or black stools. Some patients also experience ‘pencil stools’ or stools that are very thin and does not seem to completely empty the body of waste. These may also be accompanied by abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas pains, and cramps. If a patient experiences these symptoms and they do not go away for one week, two weeks, or longer, he should approach a hospital and arrange for tests.

Systemic Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Systemic symptoms, on the other hand, are those that affect not just the digestive system but the entire body. These include rapid weight loss without any effort to reduce weight, loss of appetite, unexplained fatigue, anemia, jaundice, nausea, and vomiting. If these manifest in a patient, even for just a few days, he should call a doctor immediately for testing. (more…)

Prostate Cancer Staging

Prostate Cancer

The prostate gland is about the same size and shape as a chestnut. It’s located at the base of the bladder. The urethra runs below it between two lobes of muscle tissue that reach from either side of the prostate. These two muscular lobes are the way in which the flow of urine is regulated through the urethra.

Inside the prostate seminal fluid is produced. This is the fluid that is released during orgasm and carries a man’s sperm.

When abnormal cells are produced and begin to reproduce, they grow into a mass of tissue called a tumor. When the cancerous cells begin to outgrow the normal cells, the functions of the prostate gland and the two lobes become compromised.

Usually prostate cancer has a slow growth rate. There have been cases where it has developed abnormally fast, but this is not typically the case. Prostate cancer cure rates are quite high when it is in the early stages, but there are typically no symptoms – so regular screening is essential.

Stage T1

Stage T1 prostate cancer is when it is first developing. Tumors at this point are small and there are no physical signs or symptoms outside of an elevated PSA level in the blood. PSA is the prostate specific antigen released into the blood as a result of tumors developing in the gland. A doctor may only be suspicious of the presence of cancer if the blood test results indicated an unusually high PSA level. If the suspicion is very high, for instance if the patient had close relatives with prostate cancer, a tissue sample would be sent for a biopsy to verify it. (more…)

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