What is Sigmoid Colon Cancer?
The colon is located in the large intestine, and is divided into several regions. Each region of the colon has specific responsibilities to carry out as part of the human digestive tract. The sigmoid region of the colon is located immediately above the rectum, and below the descending colon. Sigmoid colon cancer, then, are cancerous cells that are within the sigmoid region of the colon. Treating sigmoid colon cancer depends on what stage of cancer the patient is in when treatment begins.Stages of Sigmoid Colon Cancer
There are three stages to sigmoid colon cancer, and the stages are determined by the size of the tumor and to what degree the tumor has penetrated. Stage 1 cancer is the classification for cancerous tumors that are small in size, and those that have no yet penetrated the mucosal layer of the colon.
Stage 2 sigmoid colon cancer include tumors that have penetrated the muscle wall of the colon, and are larger than tumors in stage 1 cancer.
Stage 3 sigmoid colon cancer includes large tumors and the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes located nearby.
Most sigmoid colon cancers are treated by surgery to remove the entire sigmoid area of the colon. A colostomy is typically required of sigmoid colon cancer surgery. When detected early, in stages 1 and 2, surgery is typically the only treatment required for removal of the cancer, while stage 3 colon cancer is likely to require chemotherapy treatments after surgery to kill any remaining cancerous cells.
How To Detect Sigmoid Colon Cancer
During an inspection of the lower portion of the large intestine, called a sigmoidoscopy, if polyps are found then a piece of tissue is removed (a colon culture) and tested for sigmoid colon cancer. If there is a large number of polyps found in the lower third of the patient’s large intestine, than typically a colonoscopy will be suggested in order to perform a much more thorough examination of the large intestine.
Risk Factors Contributing to Sigmoid Colon Cancer
Sigmoid colon cancer, or colon cancer in general, is considered third in the most common cancers found in the United States. Risk factors that contribute to colon cancer include diets that are high in fat and low in fiber, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease), having certain colonic polyps, and hereditary disorders.