What is colon cancer?
Colon cancer is a malignant formation of the mucous. It can occur in any part of the large intestine, but most often occurs in the sigmoid and rectum portion. In most cases it develops from intestinal polyps, which were not removed in time. They grow over time and can develop into a malignant formation.
In Korea, colon cancer is the 2nd most common disease after stomach cancer, but has a high percentage of 5-year survival rate (75%).
Symptoms and risk factors for colon cancer
Most often, the initial stage of colon cancer occurs without any symptoms. In most cases it is detected when the disease has already progressed significantly.
Symptoms may vary depending on the location of the tumor.
- Symptoms of rectal cancer: feeling of bowel pain, discomfort after emptying, pain during defecation, bleeding from the anus, feces with blood or mucus, constipation or diarrhea.
- Symptoms of cancer on the left side of the intestine: reduction of the diameter of feces, abdominal pain, change in the rhythm of bowel movements, blood mixture or mucus in the feces, constipation.
- Symptoms of cancer of the right side of the intestine: abdominal pain, muscle decline, weakness, anemia, palpation tumor, bloating.
Many of the symptoms are similar to other bowel diseases. The true cause will be determined only by a specialist. Thus, when symptoms appear, we recommend to see a doctor.
- Proven risk factors for colon cancer:
- Poor nutrition: excessive consumption of red meat, animal fats, lack of plant food increases the risk of cancer.
To prevent colon cancer, it is recommended to avoid the above risk factors, to lead a healthy lifestyle. It is recommended to have a medical checkup (colonoscopy and analysis of feces) for people after the age of 40, if among direct relatives were diagnosed with colon cancer; after 50 years, if there is no family history and there are no symptoms.
Hospitals specializing in the treatment of colon cancer in Korea
Medical Avenue has extensive experience with various hospitals in Korea (1st level hospitals – Samsung Medical Center, Severance Hospital, St. Mary, Seoul National University Hospital; 2nd level hospitals – Ajou University Hospital, Cha Ilsan, etc.). The experience of our patients is important to us. Thus, our coordinators conduct a thorough assessment of hospitals, doctors and medical staff. Our accumulated experience allows to make recommendations individually: according to the diagnosis and wishes of patients.
Medical Avenue recommends Professors Yong Sung-hyun at Samsung Medical Center, Lee Gan Yong at Severance Hospital.
Additionally, some hospitals in Korea use experimental NK cell therapy in the treatment of cancer. This method uses the patient’s own NK cells. Cell collection occurs through the usual blood collection. Then, in the laboratory they multiply the cells millions of times and inject them back to the patient intravenously. This method helps to use your own immune system in the fight against cancer. Suitable for both patients with the initial stage and terminal stage of cancer. For more information, please contact our experts for advice.
Preliminary plan for colon cancer screenings in Korea
When contacting hospitals in Korea, a detailed examination is necessary to determine the stage of the disease and the presence of metastasis.
|– Colonoscopy with / without biopsy|
– CT of abdominal organs
– Blood test, feces test
– Intestinal MRI
PET-CT if necessary
$4,500 to $5,500(with PET-CT)
|– Revision of histological glasses (if a biopsy is done in your country and histological glasses are available)||300$~600$2|
1 Cost according to these medical tests. If there are unusual anomalies, the list of tests and the cost may change. 2 Depending on the levels of the study, the cost may vary.
Preliminary plan to treat colon cancer in Korea
- Treatments for colon cancer:
- Surgery (laparoscopic, laparoscopic with single access, robotic surgery, transanal endoscopic microsurgery, open): part of the intestine around the tumor can be removed, after which the intestine connects; the volume of surgery depends on the size and location of the tumor. Depending on the condition, a temporary colostomy – an artificial tube for the withdrawal of feces and gases – is placed. This is done for the preoperative treatment (neoadjuvant chemotherapy or radiotherapy), then colostomy is removed and bowel effects occurs naturally. Worrying about colostomy is not necessary, in Korea a permanent colostomy is uncommon. Also, recently in Korea, doctors use stents for intestinal obstruction.
|Possible treatment options||Cost|
– Target therapy
|$1,000 to $2,500 for 1 course of chemotherapy|
$1,300 to $4,000 for 1 target therapy2
1 The cost may change, according to the method, the volume of surgery and the individual characteristics of treatment. The price includes basic hospitalization in a multi-bed ward. 2 Protocol appoints an oncologist based on the results of all tests. The cost depends on the assigned protocol. When prescribing immunotherapy, the cost may increase. 3 The cost of radiation therapy will depend on the number of courses, dosage.
Approximate schedule of examinations and treatment of colon cancer in Korea
- Day 1: consultation with the professor, appointment of examinations
- Day 2: medical tests
- Day 8-9: secondary consultation, tests results
- Surgery: scheduled, hospitalization for 7-10 days1
- Outpatient appointment based on the results of the biopsy after discharge and flight home. 2
1 The period of hospitalization may vary depending on the operation and the recovery period. 2 The stay may change depending on the patient’s condition, the type of surgery and the schedule of the ward in which the treatment will take place.
Tips for treatment of colon cancer in Korea
- Be sure to follow the rules and recommendations after the operation. After surgery, it is necessary to follow a strict diet for a few days to restore the intestines.
- Bring with you all the medicines you take on a permanent basis. Also, you carry with you black tea, porridge, cereals, etc.