Bowel cancer is a malignant tumor of the lining of the intestine. The disease can appear in any part of this organ, most often it develops in the large intestine.
Colon cancer diagnostics
Currently, malignant intestinal tumors are the second most common oncological diseases in terms of frequency of occurrence. The effectiveness of treatment and the patient's life expectancy will depend on the stage of the disease, so it is very important to regularly check the intestines for cancer. The most susceptible to cancer are people over the age of 45, women and men equally. The incidence rate increases by 10% every 10 years. You should see your doctor for a bowel cancer test.
There are several methods for diagnosing tumors in the abdominal cavity. These include endoscopic research methods (sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy), finger examination, X-ray, ultrasound. Finger examination is one of the safest and easiest methods for diagnosing bowel cancer. This method allows detecting tumors in the distal section at early stages, as well as detecting the presence of blood in the intestinal lumen and other concomitant pathologies.
Sigmoidoscopy allows you to examine the rectum and lower part of the colon, identify possible neoplasms, and, if necessary, take a biopsy of a suspicious area. Colonoscopy examines and evaluates the condition of the inner surface of the large intestine. This method makes it possible to detect polyps and other pathologies, as well as conduct a biopsy, remove polyps less than 1 mm in size. You can examine the intestines for cancer using a virtual colonoscopy (computed tomography) using X-rays.
An x-ray method called irrigoscopy is often used to diagnose bowel cancer. Before the beginning of the irradiation, the patient is given a barium enema. The drug fills the intestinal lumen, after which an x-ray is taken. You can check the intestines for cancer using an ultrasound scan. With proper preparation and conduct, the study helps to determine the size of the tumor, the degree of its invasion into neighboring organs, and also to identify metastases.
To diagnose bowel cancer, laboratory tests are necessary. By themselves, they will not help diagnose a tumor, but they can indicate some deviations from the norm in the state of the intestine. Such studies include a fecal occult blood test (fecal immunochemical test). With a tumor or polyps, a small amount of blood is found in the stool, even if it is not visually visible. In this case, the patient is referred for a colonoscopy.
When assessing a general blood test, attention is paid to the number of red blood cells and the level of hemoglobin. If anemia is identified, the patient should undergo bowel studies. A blood test for tumor markers is performed to determine specific substances that are released into the blood from cancer cells. A biopsy is done to definitively diagnose cancer. During the procedure, a tissue sample of the neoplasm is taken, which is then tested under laboratory conditions.