Colon and Bowel cancer explained

Colon and Bowel cancer explained


[Cat Purring] Amen: My name is Amen Sibtain, I’m a consultant clinical oncologist
and my NHS practice is at St Bartholomew’s hospital in London.
So the term ‘Bowel Cancer’ normally refers to colon cancer or rectal cancer.
The bowel itself actually is the enitre digestive tract,
running from the stomach down to the anus where the poo comes out of
and thats split into the large bowel and the small bowel.
So when we talk about colon and rectum cancer, we’re talking about large bowel cancer
and that’s normally shortened to just bowel cancer.
The signs and symptoms are, a change in bowel habit that is not getting better after a few
weeks on standard treatments that your GP may give
you, bleeding from the bottom, usually mixed in
with the stool or if theres bleeding when one wipes oneself
with loo paper. It’s important to qualify that bleeding from
the bowel isn’t an automatic sign of bowel cancer,
there are a lot of other causes, but it is a persistent change in bowel habit that’s probably
the most important. Other things to watch out for are abdominal
pain. A loss of appetite and weight loss are also
factors to look for Some people may be embarrassed about talking
about something that we don’t normally talk about every day,
so it’s obvious to feel some embarrassment. But be reassured that the doctor will not be embarrassed and is used to dealing with this all day every day. The first diagnostic test is a technique that looks at the lining of the bowel
and thats usually a flexible sigmoidoscopy. Then if there is something suspicious there,
they can take a biopsy there and then. That is a sample of any suspicious lump and
that is sent off for analysis. If nothing can be seen, but there is still
a high degree of suspicion that there may be something going on further
up the bowel, further up the colon, a full colonoscopy is done, which usually
requires a separate visit. The patients have to clear out their bowel
before attending and they’re given some sedation. The process takes about 20 -25 minutes in
total and this is an excellent way of looking at the inside of the bowel,
right from the rectum, at the bottom, all the way round to the right hand side of the
bowel. So if all of the tests show the tumour is
confined to the bowel itself and has not spread anywhere else,
the main treatment is surgery, and the surgery involves removal of the relevant part of the
bowel along with things called ‘lymph nodes’.
Nowadays if the tumour has only spread to the liver and there is no sign of any spread
anywhere else and it is seen to be technically possible
to remove part of the liver along with the bowel,
then that can be done and can be curative. If there is spread elsewhere one has to think
about what symptoms the patient is having. If there are major symptoms from the tumour
itself in the bowel, then surgery still may be done to prevent
or relieve those symptoms, but if the disease has spread then the main
treatment is chemotherapy. [Announcer] For information, help, or if you just want
a chat call the macmillan support line on 0808 808 0000
or visit macmillan.org.co.uk

One thought on “Colon and Bowel cancer explained

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *