Table of Contents
What Is Metastatic Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer metastasis is also referred to as advanced colon cancer Stage IV colon cancer. This means that the cancer cells have spread beyond the colon to surrounding organs or distant parts of the body. This can be through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. When this happens, the cells will go and form new tumors on different organs.
Even if cancer has spread to other body organs, cancer will still be named after the part of the body where it started. So, colorectal cancer that spreads or metastasizes to a different body part is called metastatic colorectal cancer or metastatic colon-rectal cancer. Suppose cancer started from the rectum to other organs of the body. In that case, it is called rectal cancer metastasis, metastatic rectal carcinoma, or metastatic rectal cancer.
The most common site of metastases for rectal or colon cancer is in the liver. This metastasis is called colon cancer with metastasis to the liver.
Colorectal cancer can also spread to the brain through the bloodstream. This is called colon cancer with brain metastasis.
Stage IV colorectal cancer is rarely curable. Once it starts to spread to other organs, it can be challenging to treat. However, there are treatments available to help stop or slow down cancer growth to manage symptoms. And with the continuous development for colorectal cancer treatment, the survival rate for metastatic colorectal cancer improved.
Symptoms of Metastatic Colon Rectal Cancer
Usually, there are no symptoms in the earliest stage of colorectal cancer. This cancer is more likely to cause the following symptoms in later stages or once cancer has spread:
- The appearance of blood in the stool, which may be colored maroon, red, or black
- Bleeding of bright red blood in the rectum
- Feeling as if the bowel does not empty after a bowel movement
- Change in bowel habits such as constipation (less than three bowel movement a week) or diarrhea (loose, watery stool three or more times a day)
- Persistent abdominal cramping or pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue or body weakness
- Anemia or low hemoglobin count
- Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of skin and eyes) or abdominal swelling – when cancer has spread to the liver (colon cancer with metastasis to the liver)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty of breathing – when colorectal cancer has spread to the lungs
- Bone pain and unexplained fractures – when cancer has spread to the bone
- Headache, dizziness, or seizures – when cancer has spread to the brain (colon cancer metastasis to the brain).
Treatment for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
Treatment for colorectal cancer depends on several factors, which include:
Treatment options for metastatic colorectal cancer include:
- The extent of the spread of cancer
- Size of tumor
- Location of the tumors
- Age of the patient
- Overall health
- Potential side effects
- Surgery. Surgery is used to remove tumors where cancer has spread.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to shrink or decrease the size of tumors and target cells.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy targets the specific genes, tissue, and proteins that contribute to the growth and survival of cancer.
Find Support with All American Hospice for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Management
Finding support and having professionals to listen, care for, and educate patients and families with metastatic colorectal cancer is essential. Feel free to contact us for any help and assistance regarding metastatic colon cancer.