Has a 5 cm tumor been found in your sigmoid colon?

If so, you should know that this is a tumor of considerable size. A 5 cm mass is nearly two inches. That is pretty big for a cancerous mass.

“A 5 cm colon cancer in the sigmoid colon is an extremely large tumor,” says Benjamin Levy, MD, board certified gastroenterologist who provides clinical care to patients at Mount Sinai Hospital, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, and Sinai Medical Group Touhy Refugee Clinic.

“As tumors grow in size, they may cause symptoms such as rectal bleeding, anemia, abdominal pain or unintentional weight loss,” continues Dr. Levy.

“The larger a tumor grows, the greater the potential is for causing a colon obstruction (where stool has a difficult time passing through).”

Symptoms of Colon Obstruction from Cancer

  • Constipation, especially if it alternates with diarrhea (e.g., diarrhea for several days followed by more than three days without a bowel movement)
  • Signs of blood in the stool (ranging from bright red to dark red/maroon clots to a very dark or black substance whose visible texture resembles gooey cheese or hot tar)
  • Stools that come out in the shape of pencils or ribbons
  • Feeling you still need to have a bowel movement after having a major BM.

“Once colon cancers are found during a colonoscopy, we take multiple biopsies and send them to a pathologist for evaluation,” says Dr. Levy.

“After a formal cancer diagnosis is made, the next step is a CT scan to stage the tumor (check for spread or metastasis).”

So for instance, if the tumor has spread to the liver, which is usually the first place it spreads to, this will show up on the CT scan.

A mass of 5 cm is not likely to be contained or local.

“Oncologists use the CT scans to determine the best medical treatment.  Oncologists work together with surgeons to create a personalized colon cancer treatment plan that helps a patient prolong his or her life and minimize symptoms.”

Dr. Levy’s research and clinical projects focus on health care disparities, GERD, the early detection of pancreatic cancer and the development of colon cancer screening campaigns.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
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Top image:  Freepik.com