Colon cancer is the second most common cancer in Malaysia, with an estimated 2,400 new cases diagnosed each year. While it can be a life-threatening disease, colon cancer is highly treatable when detected early. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at colon cancer in Malaysia and what can be done to prevent and treat it.

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the large intestine or rectum. It usually begins as small, non-cancerous polyps, which can turn into cancer over time if left untreated. The exact cause of colon cancer is unknown, but it is believed to be linked to several factors, including age, genetics, lifestyle, and diet.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer

The symptoms of colon cancer can vary from person to person, and some people may not experience any symptoms at all. However, some common signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:

It is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it is essential to consult a healthcare professional if you experience any of these symptoms.

What are the risk factors of developing colorectal (colon) cancer?

There are several risk factors that can increase a person’s likelihood of developing colorectal (colon) cancer. Some of the most significant risk factors include:

It is essential to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not mean that a person will develop colorectal cancer. However, it is important to be aware of these risk factors and to speak with a healthcare professional about screening and prevention strategies if necessary.

How do doctors diagnose colorectal (colon) cancer?

Common diagnostic tools include:

  • Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)

  • Blood tests: Complete blood count, tumour markers and liver enzymes

  • Colonoscopy

  • Biopsy

  • Imaging tests: Computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, positron emission tomography (PET) scan.

Treatment

The treatment of colon cancer depends on several factors, including the stage and location of the cancer, as well as the individual’s overall health and medical history. Here are some common treatment options for colon cancer:

Following are some commonly deployed treatment lines based on the stage of cancer:

In addition to these treatments, supportive care may be necessary to manage symptoms and side effects, such as pain, fatigue, and nausea. It is important to work closely with a healthcare team to develop an individualized treatment plan for colon cancer that takes into account the individual’s specific needs and preferences.

What can I do to reduce the risk of developing colorectal (colon) cancer?

While the exact cause of colon cancer is unknown, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disease. These include:

Conclusion

Colon cancer is a significant health concern in Malaysia, with thousands of new cases diagnosed each year. While it can be a life-threatening disease, colon cancer is highly treatable when detected early. By being aware of the symptoms and risk factors of colon cancer and getting screened regularly, you can take steps to reduce your risk of developing the disease and increase your chances of successful treatment. If you have any concerns about colon cancer, it is essential to speak with your healthcare professional.

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