Colon cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the US for both men and women. It is a dangerous disease that can progress quickly if it goes unchecked. Fortunately, colon resections can be used to treat colon cancer and other dangerous diseases.
What is a colon resection and how do you know if you need one?
If you or someone you know has ever suffered from colon cancer or another disease of the colon, they have likely had a colectomy. Here is a brief but detailed guide to help you understand colon resections.
What is a Colon Resection?
Colon resections, also known as colectomy, are used as a treatment for colon cancer. This surgical procedure involves the removal of part or all of the colon, more commonly known as the large intestine. It can be used as a way to treat or prevent diseases from occurring.
Colon resection is performed for more than just cancer. Inflamed tissues, severe colon infections, blockages, and other forms of disease that cause damage to the colon may also benefit from colon resection.
There are four main types of colon resection; total colectomy, partial colectomy, hemicolectomy, and proctocolectomy. Each involves the removal of a different portion of the colon.
During a total colectomy, the entirety of the colon is removed, while a partial colectomy involves removing a portion of the colon. A hemicolectomy removes either the right or left side of the colon. Finally, a proctocolectomy involves the removal of both the colon and the rectum.
The type of colectomy performed will depend on the severity and progression of the colon disease. Your doctor can recommend what type of colon resection is right for you.
Signs You Need a Colon Resection
There are signs you should look out for that signal a colon resection may be necessary. Here’s what you need to keep an eye on.
Many colon diseases come with uncontrollable bleeding. This blood will be bright red and the bleeding will last for more than one day.
If you notice blood in your stool or underwear, you may have bowel issues that need to be taken care of immediately. Keep a record of any blood in your stool to report to your doctor.
Changes in Bowel Movements
Noticeable changes in your bowel movements are also something you should watch out for. Diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for multiple days at a time are something that you should communicate with your doctor. These are all signs that you may need colon surgery.
Persistent Abdominal Discomfort or Pain
Colon diseases can cause severe abdominal pain if left untreated. This pain may also come in the form of cramping; this may feel similar to menstrual cramps. If you notice pain in your abdomen that lasts for more than a few days, you need to visit your doctor right away.
Abnormal Weight Loss
Some colon diseases cause the body to not absorb nutrients properly. You may notice yourself losing weight without any effort. If you start dropping pounds faster than you should, it could be a sign of colon troubles.
Talk with your doctor about any abnormal weight loss or gain that you are experiencing, as they could point to digestive problems.
Family History of Colon Cancer or Other Illnesses
Colon resections can be given to those with a family history of colon cancer or other colon illnesses. While a colectomy can provide benefits after you have developed a disease, getting a colectomy before the disease occurs can improve your overall health in the long run. Talk with your doctor if you have a family history of colon diseases and discuss the benefits of colon resection.
You may also want to consider a colon resection if you have had multiple precancerous polyps that were found during colonoscopies. Your doctor may recommend a colectomy to prevent cancerous polyps from forming.
Side Effects of Colon Resection
Colon resection is a serious surgery that comes with risks and side effects. Here are some things to watch out for after receiving a colectomy.
Infections are a potential risk of any surgery. However, colon infections can cause serious risks if left untreated. If pain persists following weeks after your initial surgery, you should visit your doctor immediately to rule out an infection.
Urinary tract infections or lung infections are also possible following a colectomy. Ask your doctor if you experience any symptoms of infection.
Injury or Pain
Overexertion or abdominal injuries can cause damage to the surgical site. The bladder, intestines, and blood vessels can also be damaged during the surgery. While the risks are low, they should still be considered prior to surgery.
Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have before getting a colectomy; you should also ask about aftercare procedures to prevent an injury following the surgery.
If the surgery site is not healing properly or becomes infected, the colon can leak into the abdomen. This can cause pain and lead to serious infections. It may also result in internal bleeding.
If you notice any common signs of infection, such as fevers, abdominal pain, or rapid heart rate, contact your doctor immediately.
Talk to Your Doctor Today
Colon cancer does not have to be the end of your normal life. If you experience any signs of colon cancer or have reasons to suspect you may develop colon cancer or another colon disease, speak with your doctor about colon resection right away.
Are you searching for a specialist to perform a colectomy on you or a loved one?
We’re here to help. Contact us with any questions or concerns you have regarding our colectomy services and continue reading our blog for more information today.