The appendix is a 4-inch long pouch attached to the first section of the large intestine. While it is considered part of the gastrointestinal tract, the appendix is not believed to serve any significant function in the body.
With appendix cancer, healthy cells in the appendix begin to grow out of control, forming large cysts or tumors. This form of cancer is highly uncommon and accounts for only about 0.5 percent of all solid tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. The most common type of appendix cancer in patients is known as a neuroendocrine tumor (NET). These make up about half of all appendix cancer diagnoses and are more common in women in their 40s. Neuroendocrine tumors form in the cells responsible for producing hormones and usually come after the appendix has been removed.
Causes and Risk Factors
Appendix cancer comes as a result of genetic mutations that cause cancerous cells within the appendix to grow out of control, forming cysts and tumors that may spread to other parts of the body. The specific cause of this genetic mutation is not known. There may be a hereditary element as a family history of appendix cancer is known to increase your own chances of developing appendix cancer.
Smoking is also a potential risk factor. Smokers have a higher risk of developing appendix cancer than non-smokers. Furthermore, certain health conditions may increase your risk of appendix cancer. This is mainly relegated to conditions that affect the stomach’s ability to produce digestive acids, including:
- Atrophic gastritis (long-term inflammation of the stomach lining)
- Pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiencies)
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging
Appendix cancer usually does not present noticeable symptoms until it has progressed to more advanced stages. Symptoms may also vary from person to person. Common signs and symptoms of this disease include:
- Loss of appetite
- Ovarian masses
- Pain in the lower right area of the abdomen
- Sudden changes in bowel movements
- Acid reflux
Doctors may use blood and urine tests to determine the extent of the disease and determine the effectiveness of treatments. The doctor may also use a wide range of imaging tests, including MRIs, ultrasound, PET scans, and CT scans, as part of the diagnostic process.
With diagnosis comes staging. The staging process is important for developing treatment plans and evaluating your treatment response. The stage of your appendix cancer mainly depends on the size of the tumor and its potential spread to other parts of the body. Appendix cancer stages are defined as:
- Localized (tumor is localized to the appendix, colon, rectum, small intestine, or large intestine)
- Regional (cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes)
- Metastatic (cancer has spread to other parts of the body)
Cardinomas and carcinoid tumors are staged differently, from stage 0 to IV with several sub-categories. Generally, this staging is based on whether the primary tumor can be removed via surgery and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
About Alternative/Natural Treatment of Appendix Cancer
Traditional treatments for appendix cancer usually involve chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or some form of surgery (usually an appendectomy). The effectiveness of treating cancer with these treatments can vary, but many of these traditional cancer treatments come with various side effects that can leave you physically depleted with an already weakened immune system.
This is where alternative treatments come into play. These offer natural methods to support your ongoing recovery while mitigating any potential negative side effects from traditional treatments.
Immunity Therapy Center offers a wide range of alternative, natural treatments for appendix cancer. Our team is dedicated to creating a personalized treatment plan based on your health and cancer progression. We treat you like a person and want to build a positive relationship through every step of the treatment process. If you want to learn more or schedule a free consultation, please contact us today.