What is Appendix Cancer?
A cancer is a type of disease where there are developments of abnormal cells in the body that invade and kill the normal cells and they replicate more and faster without control. It also have the ability to invade other organs or nearby tissue thus affecting the health of the individual. Appendix cancer is a rare type of cancer where the abnormal cells invade the appendix and it forms a tissue called tumor.
Anatomy of the Appendix
Signs and Symptoms of Appendix Cancer
Appendix cancer doesn’t usually manifest signs and symptoms at early stage; usually it will be felt once the cancer is in the advance stage or where in the cancer spread to other tissues. This signs and symptoms will vary on the person who has this kind of disease. The signs and symptoms are:
- Patient will experience pain in the side that usually misdiagnosed as having appendicitis. During surgery usually the appendix cancer is discovered.
- The patient will notice an increase in abdominal size or they usually look swollen. This abdominal swelling that the patient experience might be because there might be a formation og hernia and because of bowel obstruction.
- There is also a sign of pelvic pain and discomfort.
- Bowel obstruction or discomfort is also noticed by the patient.
- Abdominal pain that the patient experience maybe due to infection, inflammation, trauma, and obstruction.
- Abdominal discomfort because the abdomen is swollen.
- Formation of ascites or formation of fluid in the abdomen
Risk Factors and Causes of Appendix Cancer
- The Cause of Appendix Cancer is still unknown and there are no known specific Risk Factors that are identified for this disease.
- Age is the only one identified that can affect in formation of this rare type of cancer. Usually people who are 40 years old and above is affected.
Diagnosis for Appendix Cancer
Medical professionals will use different ways to detect appendix cancer as well as if the cancer already spread in other organs in the abdomen as well as outside the abdominal area. Some test will determine if the treatment became effective to the person or not.
- Family and Medical history including the age and lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking.
- Physical examination if there is any medical condition that might affect in diagnosing the cancer in the appendix.
- Urine and blood samples to determine if there is any infection that is present as well as to check abnormalities in the blood and urine of the person.
- Biopsy is a medical type of test done by the medical professionals where they will get sample tissue used for examination. The sample that is removed is checked through a microscope and it helps to determine any present diseases.
- Computed Tomography Scan (CT scan) is a type of x-ray that can provide sharper and detailed images of the lungs. It combines a series of x-ray views with different angles that produce cross-sectional images of bones and tissues inside the body.
- MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is also like the CT scan that helps the professionals to detect any formation and abnormal growth in the body but it’s clearer because it uses a dye to see images more clearly.
- Ultrasound that can also help in viewing internal organs and determine any abnormal tissues.
- PET Scan or Positive Emission Tomography is like a CT scan that can determine any abnormalities inside the body but this machine can also tell if the body reacts well to the treatments given.
- Radionuclide Scanner it is a small radioactive substance that is injected to the vein of the person that will help medical professionals detect the spread of cancer. A special type of camera is used to show where the injected radioactive substance accumulates.
Treatment for Appendix Cancer
Treatment for this type of cancer depends on the stage of cancer that is present in the body. These two treatments that are commonly used in treating this disease are:
- Surgery is the most common and main treatment for Appendix Cancer. It is where a certain part will be removed because it already is affected. The common surgeries done in a patient are:
- Appendectomy – is a type of surgery that will remove the appendix. It is normally done if the tumor caused by appendix cancer is less than 1.5cm.
- Hemicolectomy –is a type of surgery done to patient that has a tumor caused by the appendix cancer is larger than 2cm. The procedure done in this type of surgery is to remove a part of colon that is located next to appendix.
- Cytoreducation Surgery – is a type of surgery where the doctors remove the accumulated fluid or mucous in the stomach of the patient. This procedure is usually followed by a procedure called chemotherapy because in this type of surgery not all cancer cells removed and it relieved patient’s sign and symptoms of bloating.
- Chemotherapy is a procedure that is done usually after surgery to eliminate possible cancer cells that are not removed in surgery. There are two types of chemotherapy done to patients with Appendix Cancer. These are:
- Local Chemotherapy – this type of chemotherapy focused in one section of the body and it’s the common type of chemotherapy used in this disease. The medical professionals normally removed first the accumulated fluid inside the patient stomach before doing this procedure for the chemotherapy to become effective. A tube is inserted after cytoreduction surgery to deliver the chemotherapy procedure. Normally it is done once.
- Systemic Chemotherapy – is a type of chemotherapy procedure where it is delivered to the bloodstream of the patient to reach cancer cells that has scattered in the body. This type of chemotherapy nerds many cycles and the effect of this type of therapy depends on person and the dose given to them. This includes of the patient experiencing fatigue, nausea and vomiting and loss of appetite but this symptom subsides eventually after the treatment.
- Radiation Therapy is a type of therapy used in patients using high-energy x-rays to kill the cancer cells that are present in the body. This type of therapy is not common type of treatment for patients with appendix cancer. This type of therapy is delivered in many cycles. It is used to kill cancer cells without affecting the tissues that surrounds by the cancer cells, it can also used as a treatment to reduce size of tumors, reduce the pain that the patient experiencing.
Prognosis and Survival Rate for Appendix Cancer
- The outcome of the treatment of Appendix Cancer depends on the stage of the cancer that is present.
- The early that is detected and the tumor is only below than 2cm and it doesn’t affect other lymph nodes as well as other organs the survival rate is higher than those tumor that is greater that 2cm and it affects other lymph nodes as well as body organs.
- Attitude of the patient is also consider because it depends on how that person is willing to participate in curing the disease like by having regular chemotherapy and the medications given are always followed.
Staging for Appendix Cancer
- Stage 0: this type of cancer is referred as Carcinoma in Situ. It means that the cancer tumor doesn’t spread to other organs and it remains in one place.
- Stage 1: the tumor cancer spread in the nearby tissues in the appendix but it doesn’t affect other organs.
- Stage 2a: the cancer spread in the nearby tissues and also affects the fatty tissue that is near in the appendix but doesn’t affect the local lymph nodes and other body organs.
- Stage 2b: the cancer already affects the lining of the appendix but still doesn’t affect local lymph nodes and other body organs.
- Stage 2c: there is a visible formation of tumor in the nearby tissues like colon or rectum but still it doesn’t affect local lymph nodes and other body organs.
- Stage 3a: the cancer already spread into the internal layer of appendix and affect at least 1 to 3 lymph nodes but it doesn’t affect other body organs.
- Stage 3b: the cancer already affects the nearby tissue surrounding the appendix, affect 1 to 3 lymph nodes but it doesn’t affect other body organs.
- Stage 3c: the cancer already affects more than 3 lymph nodes but doesn’t affect other body organs.
- Stage 4a: the cancer already affects the other body organs and its more visible compare to the previous stages and there is no lymph node that is affected.
- Stage 4b: the cancer affects other body organ in the abdomen and affects 4 or more local lymph nodes.
- Stage 4c: the cancer already spreads in the organs in the abdomen as well they also affect body organs outside the abdominal area like lungs.
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