What is Appendiceal cancer?
Appendiceal cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects the appendix, a small pouch-like organ located at the beginning of the large intestine. The exact cause of appendix cancer is unknown, but certain risk factors have been identified that may increase the likelihood of its development.
- Increasing age
- Family history of appendix cancer or colon cancer
- Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition that increases the risk of developing various types of cancer.
The symptoms of appendiceal cancer may vary from person to person. The most common symptoms of appendiceal cancer include the following:
- Abdominal pain is often described as a dull, aching pain that can be severe and is not relieved by rest or over-the-counter pain medication.
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Blood in the stool
- Feeling full or bloated
- Feeling full quickly after eating
When someone presents to their healthcare provider with the above symptoms, a variety of things can be done to find the source of the symptoms.
Imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds can be used to evaluate the abdomen and determine if a tumor is present. These imaging studies can also be done to see if there has been any spread of cancer to other areas of the body.
Ultimately a biopsy will need to be taken to determine if cancer is present. This may need to be done in a surgical procedure to get to the appendix.
Once appendiceal cancer has been diagnosed and staged, a treatment plan can be developed. The treatment plan will vary depending on the stage and location of cancer, as well as the overall health of the patient.
- Surgery: Surgery to remove the appendix and any nearby lymph nodes is a treatment for appendix cancer. Depending on the cancer stage, a larger portion of the colon may also need to be removed.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be given alone or in combination with surgery. With surgery, chemotherapy is heated and instilled into the abdominal cavity.