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Appendix cancer is a relatively rare form of colorectal cancer. It involves cancerous tumor growth in some part of the appendix, which is basically an extension of the colon. In many cases, patients will experience very few symptoms during the early stages of the disease, and many elements can be very similar to symptoms from other intestinal problems, thereby leading to frequent misdiagnosis. This cancer can easily spread, and it can be very deadly, especially if doctors don't catch it early enough. There are many types of appendix cancer, and when symptoms appear, they’re generally bowel-related disorders like diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
The purpose of the appendix is generally unknown to science, and people can usually function in a relatively normal way without it. The fact that the appendix has such a limited purpose is one of the reasons why this cancer can be hard to spot. Any impairment of the organ that is caused by appendix cancer may not cause any obvious problems for the body. In the early stages before the cancer spreads, the most dangerous thing that can happen is the cancer blocking the appendix, which gives the patient appendicitis. Appendix cancer often starts to become much more dangerous as it spreads through the body, which means that sometimes the most important aspect of treatment can be catching it early.
Once doctors diagnose a case of appendix cancer, the most common approach is generally to remove the tumor. This will often involve total appendix removal and may involve removal of part of the colon as well. After that, patients usually take some kind of chemotherapy. If medical professionals catch the cancer early enough, removal and chemotherapy can often be sufficient to allow for a longer survival rate, but this is often not the case, and survival rates are generally poor.
Another treatment approach that has shown some success is intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemotherapy. This involves circulating chemotherapy drugs in liquid form through the colon. Doctors heat the drugs until they are slightly above the natural body temperature, which is thought to be partially responsible for the effectiveness of this therapy.
In a normal treatment session, doctors will circulate the drugs through the body for approximately 1.5 hour. This treatment is generally given to appendix cancer patients as part of the operation to remove the tumor. Unlike most chemotherapy treatments, it doesn’t generally involve any follow-up treatments, which can make it potentially more convenient and less taxing on the body.
The appendix cancer survival rate depends on several factors. Survival rates range from 40 to 80 percent. If the tumor is more than 2.5 centimeters the survival rate is less.