Detecting cancer from signs of abdominal pain, weight loss
Patient 68 years old, with abdominal pain associated with digestive disorders, fatigue, poor appetite, lost 5 kg, went to the doctor to detect colon cancer with liver metastases.
On November 6, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Cam Phuong, Director of the Center for Nuclear Medicine and Oncology, Bach Mai Hospital, said that the patient had sigmoid colon cancer with liver metastasis, stage 4. Doctors consultation, indicated radical surgery, sigmoid colon resection and liver metastases, then adjuvant treatment.
"However, the family and the patient did not agree to surgery", the doctor said and decided to treat with systemic therapy combined with radiofrequency ablation of liver metastases.
After 6 cycles of chemotherapy, the patient was awake, in good condition, gaining two pounds, no longer having digestive disorders, liver and kidney function within normal limits. But the patient needed a colectomy to restore gastrointestinal circulation combined with 12 cycles of chemotherapy (each cycle was spaced two weeks apart).
Before the cancer was discovered, the man had a healthy history, was a non-smoker, and had no family history of cancer.
Patient's tumor image. Photo: Provided by the hospital
Rectal cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in the world and ranks 4th on the list of leading causes of death, behind only lung, stomach and liver cancers.
According to the World Cancer Organization in 2020, it is estimated that each year, more than 1.9 million people are infected and about 935 thousand people die from colon cancer. According to Globocan 2020, Vietnam recorded nearly 16,000 new cases and more than 8,200 deaths each year from this disease.
Most rectal cancers occur in people 50 years of age and older because they have a higher risk of developing rectal polyps. In addition, people with a history or family members with colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer; people with hereditary colorectal polyposis syndrome; ulcerative colitis... is also at risk.
Currently, colon cancer is getting younger and younger. Statistics from the UK and 19 European countries, from 2005, the number of colorectal cancer cases in the 40-50 year old increased by 1.4% per year. Between 2008 and 2016, the incidence of colon cancer in the 20-39 age group increased by 7.4%. The rate of rectal cancer for the same age group has also increased by 1.8% per year since 1990.
The symptoms of early colorectal cancer are often silent and subtle, making it difficult to detect. Some common signs are bowel disorders, diarrhea, persistent constipation or thin and flat stools like rice leaves. Feeling sad to have frequent bowel movements, not passing all stools, bloody stools mixed with stools. Patients with abdominal pain, frequent fatigue, unexplained weight loss.
Doctors recommend that colorectal cancer is dangerous, but it can still be actively prevented by making healthy lifestyle changes, building a reasonable diet and having regular cancer screenings. People who are not at high risk should begin screening at age 50. People at high risk, such as a family history of colorectal cancer, should begin screening at a younger age.
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