What is it?

Cecum cancer is a specific type of cancer that can develop at the very beginning of the colon. Signs and symptoms are sometimes elusive, but historical studies show that up to 20% of colorectal cancers occur in the cecum

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Signs & symptoms

Common symptoms of colorectal cancer overall include a change in bowel movements, rectal bleeding, and a frequent urge to have a bowel movement that isn't relieved by defecating. Chances are you will not experience these telltale symptoms with cecum cancer. The symptoms of cecum cancer can be nonspecific and are often different than traditional colon cancer symptoms.
Unfortunately, the majority of cecum cancer symptoms are not noticeable until the disease is already advanced. Potential symptoms may include:
* Anemia
* Dark, tarry stools (melena)
* Gas and bloating
* Abdominal pain
* Nausea and vomiting
* Weight loss


A colonoscopy is the best test for visually detecting cancer of the cecum. In a colonoscopy, a healthcare provider advances a colonoscope through your entire colon, up to the cecum, looking for polyps or suspicious growths that could be cancerous. If polyps are detected, they can be removed during the procedure.
Because most colon cancers begin as precancerous polyps, a colonoscopy not only can detect cancer, but also prevent it by removing these polyps.
During a colonoscopy, roughly 10% of the time, the colonoscope cannot be introduced all the way to the cecum, and therefore misses this region. This may occur due to adhesions, or other problems that make the colon tortuous or difficult to navigate.

Barium enemas may be done but can be inaccurate. When this is the case, a virtual colonoscopy may be able to detect cancer of the cecum when other tests fail.
Other tests, such as a computerized tomography (CT scan) of your abdomen, may also be done to explore the area of your cecum and to look for evidence of any spread of cancer.
Unfortunately, flexible sigmoidoscopy, a test sometimes used to screen for colon cancer, only evaluates the left side of the colon and would miss cancers of the cecum and right colon.


During a colonoscopy, your healthcare provider may perform a polypectomy procedure. However, if a cancer is too large to be removed during a polypectomy, you may need additional surgery to remove it. The most common type of surgery for cancer of the cecum is called a right hemicolectomy. This surgery removes the right side of your colon and re-attaches the remaining portion to your small intestine.12

Depending on the stage and grade of your cancer, your healthcare provider might also advise adjuvant treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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