Sunday, November 25, 2012

Colon Cancer In Depth

Colon cancer or colorectal cancer according to the American Cancer Society is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in the United States.  Colon, or colorectal cancer, is cancer that starts in the large intestine (colon) and the rectum (end of colon).  Other types of cancer can affect the colon, such as:

  • Lymphoma
  • Carcinoid Tumors
  • Melanoma
  • Sarcomas
These are rare, the following is just related to colon carcinoma only.  Almost all colon cancer starts in the glands of the lining of the colon and rectum.  There is no single cause for colon cancer.  Nearly all colon cancers begin as noncancerous (benign) polyps, which slowly develop into cancer, that's why it is very important for patients to get regular colonoscopies.  You have a higher risk of colon cancer if you:

  • Are older than 60
  • Are African American or of Eastern European descent
  • Eat a diet in high in red or processed meats
  • Have cancer elsewhere in the body
  • Have colorectal polyps
  • Have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis) 
  • Have a family history of colon cancer
  • Have a personal history of breast cancer
  • Have the genetic syndromes - HNPCC or FAP
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
Many cases of colon cancer have no symptoms, the following may indicate it though: 

  • Abdominal pain and tenderness (in the lower abdomen)
  • Blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or other change in bowel habits
  • Narrow stools
  • Weight loss with no reason
With proper screening colon cancer can be detected, prevented, or caught early and cured.  That's why as stated above, you need to get yearly colonoscopies, especially if you are over 50.  Stay Informed!

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