Metastatic Colon Cancer


Metastatic colon cancer is stage four colon cancer that has advanced and spread to other parts of the body, typically the lymph nodes and liver but may also spread to distant body parts, including the brain. It is the third most common cancer in the United States, excluding skin carcinomas. Doctors can easily treat colon cancer during its early stages, but upon metastasis, it becomes very hard to do away with the disease. According to research on metastatic colon cancer prognosis, the five-year survival rate of patients with metastatic colon cancer was 14 percent. As much as this percentage looks frightening, it still does not cover other factors influencing metastatic colon cancer life expectancy, including the person’s age, type of treatment they undergo, their overall immunity, and presence of an underlying chronic health condition like HIV. However, this data describes results from the past. With the improved technology and research, there is a chance that healthcare personnel will come up with ways to improve the above survival rate.
Treatment for metastatic colon cancer needs a tailored approach and largely depends on the person’s symptoms and degree of progression. Knowing where cancer spreads and its specific symptoms are vital when beginning metastatic colon cancer treatment therapy.

Symptoms and treatment

A person with colon cancer might not show any symptoms at its early stages. However, symptoms begin to show once the cancer has metastasized to other areas. Some general metastatic colon cancer symptoms include weakness, fatigue, abdominal pain, unintended weight loss, rectal bleeding, dark red stools, and melena. In addition to the above symptoms, other symptoms come when cancer has adapted to a secondary site. These secondary symptoms vary depending on the part of metastasis.

Spread to the liver

The liver is the common site of Metastatic colon cancer spread. The doctor can find liver metastasis when diagnosing a patient with metastatic colon cancer. Also, liver metastasis can come about while one is undergoing treatment for stage four colon cancer. Some individuals with metastatic colon cancer spread to the liver usually don’t show symptoms. Others may show symptoms including blood in stool, epigastric pain, swelling on your belly, tiredness, weight loss, and feeling sick. An oncologist would look at your liver functions to confirm that metastatic colon cancer has affected your liver. Diagnostic tests for colon cancer spread to the liver include CT scans, liver biopsy, MRIs, and positron emission tomography.
Even though colon cancer has spread to the liver, the tumor in the liver is still made of colon cells. Therefore, the doctor would treat it as colon cancer, not liver cancer. Treatment options include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgeries to remove the colon and some parts of the liver. Colon cancer may block the intestine; in this case, a doctor would insert a tube called a stent to open up the blockage. Patients with just one tumor in the liver have the highest survival rates than those who seek medical attention when their conditions worsen. Some patients may become unlucky when metastasis to the liver comes after colostomies.

Spread to the lungs

Just like colon cancer spreads to the liver, doctors treat colon cancer metastasis to the lung differently from lung cancer. They usually prefer surgical excision using minimally invasive techniques in combination with chemotherapy to do away with colon cancer tumors in the lungs. It is important to note that lung metastasis is tailored down to an individual patient. The therapeutical method depends on which part of the lung cancer has been affected, the patient’s individual health, and other factors. Moreover, the patient can choose the type of treatment they prefer.

Newer methods of treating colon cancer metastasis to the lung include radiofrequency ablation, stereotactic therapy, and cryotherapy, among other traditional methods. Common metastatic colon cancer spreads to the lung symptoms include coughing up blood, shortness of breath, chest infections, and pleural effusion. Due to the above side effects of metastasis and treatment techniques, metastatic colon cancer life expectancy was very low, with a mean survival rate of just nine months when one receives the best supportive care. However, with 5-FU/LV, the average survival rate improved to 12 months. Furthermore, with a combination of 5-FU/LV and irinotecan or oxaliplatin, metastatic colon cancer life expectancy improved to between 14 and 19 months. You can also consult an oncologist and other specialists 24/7 with OncoPower Ask-A-Doc service to get guidance on how monitor and manage metastatic colon cancer.

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