What is Small Cell Carcinoma of the Colon?
Small cell carcinoma of the colon is a rare and highly aggressive type of cancer that originates from the neuroendocrine cells in the colon. This type of cancer is more commonly associated with the lungs (as small cell lung cancer), but it can occur in the colon and is then classified as an extrapulmonary small cell carcinoma. It is characterized by small, poorly differentiated cells and has a tendency for rapid growth and early metastasis.
Symptoms of small cell carcinoma of the colon can be similar to other types of colorectal cancer and may include:
- Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a change in stool consistency.
- Abdominal pain or discomfort.
- Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Fatigue and general weakness.
- In advanced stages, symptoms may include abdominal distension, jaundice (if the liver is involved), or symptoms related to metastases in other organs.
Disease Aetiology (Causes)
The exact cause of small cell carcinoma of the colon is not fully understood. As with other neuroendocrine tumors, it may involve mutations in neuroendocrine cells within the colon. The risk factors are not well defined but may be similar to other types of colon cancer, including age, diet, genetic predisposition, and lifestyle factors.
Diagnosing small cell carcinoma of the colon involves:
- Colonoscopy: To visually examine the colon and obtain biopsy samples for analysis.
- Imaging Studies: Such as CT scans, MRI, or PET scans to assess the extent of the disease and identify any metastases.
- Biopsy and Histological Analysis: Critical for confirming the diagnosis. Special staining and immunohistochemical techniques are used to identify neuroendocrine cells.
- Blood and Urine Tests: May be conducted to look for markers indicative of neuroendocrine tumors.
Treatment for small cell carcinoma of the colon usually includes:
- Surgery: To remove the primary tumor and affected parts of the colon, often including nearby lymph nodes.
- Chemotherapy: This is a key component of treatment due to the aggressive nature of the tumor and its tendency to metastasize.
- Radiation Therapy: May be employed in conjunction with chemotherapy, especially if the cancer has spread to other areas or for palliative care.
- Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy: Emerging treatments are being explored for their effectiveness against this type of cancer.
What support can we give for the Carcinoid Tumours of the Colon?
Carcinoid Tumours of the Colon is a rare cancer, meaning it is not as well-known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Carcinoid Tumours of the Colon, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
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Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways: