Colon Cancer Overview

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Colon cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer identified in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates there are 95,520 new instances of this kind of cancer in 2017 alone. It is often grouped collectively with rectal cancer since they have a lot of features in common. How Colon Cancer Starts The colon most cancers begins as a growth called a polyp in the internal lining of the colon or large intestine. It is important to determine that now not all polyps can transform to become cancerous while others take a route of several years before they turn and come to be cancer. Additionally, the chance of a polyp changing into cancer depends on the kind or type of the polyp. Adenomatous polyps sometimes change into cancer and the presences of adenomas as they are commonly referred signify a precancerous condition. Hyperplastic and inflammatory polyps present the second type and are more common amongst individuals but are not pre-cancerous.

Other polyp characteristics that might increase the risk of a person developing colon cancer includes the size of the polyp, the number found and the presence of dysplasia after the polyp is removed. All these factors are determinants of whether a person is vulnerable to getting cancer or not. Dysplasia is a condition of the polyp or the colon where the cells look abnormal but unlike actual cancer cells. If cancer, therefore, forms in a polyp, it eventually grows on the wall of the colon especially the innermost layer and grows outward through other layers. This increases the risk of growing into blood and lymph vessels and other distant parts of the body. The growth of cancer signifies the stage with advanced stages relating to significant growth rates in various regions of the colon or body part.

Causes of Cancer

Despite polyps being the primary causes of cancer concerning colon cancer, there are other reasons which make an individual vulnerable to the illness.

Genes

Damage and mutations to DNA have been researched and found to cause cells to experience uncontrolled growth hence damaging the genes involved in cell division. Cancer is therefore as a result of mutations that inhibit particular gene functions hence leading to uncontrollable cell growth. Furthermore, mutations also make cells incapable of correcting damages from DNA and being unable to die off then increasing the probability of cancer.

Eating Habits and Traits

Genetic dispositions as well as inherited forms from family members through certain genetic mutations and gene faults make one statistically more likely to develop cancer. Almost 90% of those diagnosed with colon cancer are over 50 years old and are more likely to have sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and smoking habits which suggest that age, traits, habits and dieting all have an influence towards developing cancer (Miller 64).

Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Cancer is a diverse illness and affects almost all body parts thus making its symptoms had to detect due to their similarities. However, the location of cancer and its spread, as well as the size of the tumor, makes it easy to identify (American Cancer Society). With colon cancer, the symptoms often range across a wide field including:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stool inconsistency
  • Blood in stool
  • Pain, cramps or gas in abdomen
  • Urges to defecate continually
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Iron deficiency
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

It is common for symptoms not to appear in the early stages of the illness. Subsequently, the spread of the disease creates additional symptoms in the newly affected areas.

Colon Cancer Diagnosis

Complete physical exam coupled together with personal and family medical history is a necessity for diagnosis. Often the diagnosis is made after a colonoscopy or barium enema x-ray made by the doctor. Colonoscopy permits the doctor to examine the colon, and if polyps exist, they are removed for biopsy exams. The biopsy, therefore, is the final test towards determining if one has cancer or not with ultrasounds, x-rays, CT-scans of various body parts showing the extent of the illness.

Treatment and Prevention

The cancer types, stage, age, health status among other factors determine the treatment intervention course. There is no single treatment for cancer, but common options are available such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. All these treatments seek to remove cancer or remove the painful symptoms associated with it.

Chemotherapy applies chemicals which interfere with the cell division process through damaging proteins or DNA so that cancer cells become damaged and die. The method is mostly used to treat cancer that has spread because the medicines travel through the entire body. However, due to the nature of the treatment, it is applied in cycles to allow the body to heal in between doses.  However, some common side effects do exist such as hair loss, nausea, fatigue, and vomiting. Radiotherapy, on the other hand, destroys cancer by focusing high-energy rays on the cancer cells hence damaging the molecules that make up the cancer cells and ultimately leading them to die.

Concerning prevention regular annual screening is an effective option for both men and women aged 50-75 years. Apart from these, practitioners also advise people on keeping a healthy weight, exercising, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables as some prevention measures (American Institute for Cancer Research 222). Bad habits such as smoking and drinking are also not advised.

Work Cited

American Cancer Society,. "Signs And Symptoms Of Colon Cancer". Cancer.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.

American Institute for Cancer Research,. Dietary Phytochemicals In Cancer Prevention And. 1st ed. Washington, D.C: Springer-Verlag New York, 2012. Print.

Donehower, Ross C. Colon Cancer. 1st ed. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2007. Print.

Miller, Anthony. What Causes Cancer?: What We Know And What It Means. 1st ed. Victoria, BC: Friesen Press, 2014. Print.

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