Healing Path, Inc.

Finding Balance
Chapter 2.10 - Colon and Rectal Cancer

In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of colon and rectal cancer.

The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.

This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available for download on this website.

Table of Contents
Chapter Excerpt
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download

Table of Contents

    1. How Colorectal Cancer Develops
    1. Caregivers
    2. Medications
    3. Environment and Care Centers
      • Nutrition and Supplements
        • Nutrition
        • Supplements
        • Enzymatic Therapies
      • Rainforest and Western Herbs
        • Rainforest Herbs
        • Western Herbs
      • Homeopathic Remedies
      • Essential Oils
      • Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
      • Traditional Chinese Medicine
      • Hatha Yoga Postures
      • Meditation
      • Visualization
      • Affirmation

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Chapter Excerpt

Colon cancer and rectal cancer develop when a section of cells in the lower part of the intestines begins to grow out of control. Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers, affecting 1 in 20 people.

Because both of these cancers are found in the large intestine, they are often grouped as one disease called colorectal cancer. It is a serious disease, but one that can be successfully treated if caught early. Anyone may develop colon or rectal cancer, but certain people are at higher risk, including those who:

  • are over age 60;
  • have a history of colon growths called polyps;
  • have a history of inflammatory bowel disease;
  • eat a diet high in fat and low in fiber;
  • have close relatives with colon, uterine or ovarian cancer.

Some people may have no symptoms. For others, the most common symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

  • blood in the stool;
  • changes in the appearance of the stool;
  • persistent abdominal discomfort;
  • fatigue due to hidden blood loss.

As food passes from the stomach through the small intestine, nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. Food that is not absorbed becomes waste and enters the large intestine, or colon, through its pouchlike entrance called the cecum. After moving through the colon, the waste then travels into the rectum and is stored until a bowel movement pushes it out through the anus.

How Colorectal Cancer Develops

Colorectal cancer develops in the lining of the colon. As normal cells in the lining mature, they divide, creating new cells to replace those that are lost. Sometimes these new cells accumulate abnormally and form a small cluster called a polyp. Most polyps are noncancerous.

Some polyps are called adenomas. In a small percentage of these, cells can begin to divide uncontrollably. This results in a mass of abnormal, rapidly dividing cells called a cancerous tumor.

The most common tests to detect colon and rectal cancer include:

  • Fecal occult blood test - checks for blood in the stool
  • Sigmoidoscopy - allows the doctor to see the lower fourth of the colon and perform a biopsy, if needed
  • Colonoscopy - allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon and perform a biopsy if needed.
  • Barium enema x-ray - taken after the colon has been filled with a chalky white barium solution, which is visible on x-rays.

Your primary care doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, who specializes in diseases of the digestive tract. And because most colorectal cancer patients will need surgery, you may be referred directly to a surgeon. Types of surgery include: bowel resection, where all or part of the colon is removed, or colostomy. If tests and surgery show advanced disease, you may need to see an oncologist, a cancer specialist who can prescribe chemotherapy. Cancerous lesions are classified as being in 1 of 4 general stages: I-confined within the bowel wall; II-extends through the bowel wall; III-lymph nodes in the area are involved; IV- spread to distant sites; called metastasis.

During your consultations, you might want to ask questions such as:

  • What kind of surgery do I need?
  • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • How much pain will there be and how can it be managed?
  • What can I expect immediately before and after surgery?
  • Should I get a second opinion?
  • What is a CEA (Carcinoembryonic antigen) blood test and why is it performed?
  • Is there anything I can do now - like lifestyle changes or avoiding certain foods - that could help before or after surgery?
  • Do you know of any local support groups I could join to talk to others in my situation?

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Glossary of Terms

Polyps that sometimes become cancerous.
The opening at the very end of the digestive tract through which bowel movement are made.
Barium Enema X-ray
An X-ray of the colon taken after a chalky fluid is flushed into the colon through the rectum; used to help reveal abnormal growths.
The removal of a small piece of tissue to check for abnormal cells under a microscope.
Another term for intestine; the colon is also called the large bowel or large intestine.
Bowel Resection
The surgical removal of a diseased segment of intestine.
The pouch-shaped entrance to the colon from the small intestine.
Administration of anti-cancer drugs either intravenously or by mouth; side effects vary, depending on types of medications and their dosages.
A diagnostic procedure, usually performed by a gastroenterologist, in which a flexible tube with a light is inserted into the anus, allowing the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon. The patient is usually sedated for the procedure.
A surgically created opening from the colon through the abdominal skin for fecal waste elimination. Fecal Occult Blood Test A test for blood in the stool.
A doctor who specialized in diseases of the digestive tract.
The spread of cancer from its original location to distant sites in the body.
Clumps or masses of abnormally growing cells in the lining of the colon; usually noncancerous.
A procedure in which a flexible, lighted tube is inserted into the rectum to permit viewing of the lower colon; usually done with no sedation.
Sphincter Muscle
A circular band of muscle fibers that opens or closes a natural opening in the body; helps control bowel movements.
A small opening, either natural or surgically created.

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