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Colon or Colorectal Cancer

Colon cancer is a kind of cancer that begins in the large intestine (colon). The colon is the digestive tract's last portion.

Colon cancer is most frequent in elderly people, although it can attack anybody at any age. The most frequent beginning point is polyps, which are tiny, noncancerous (benign) clusters of cells that grow on the interior of the colon. Over time, some of these polyps may grow into colon cancer.

Polyps can be so small that they create little if any, symptoms. As a result, doctors recommend routine screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by finding and eliminating polyps before they turn cancerous.

Colon cancer arises when healthy cells in the colon's DNA become mutated. A cell's DNA includes instructions that guide the cell on what to do.

To keep your body working properly, healthy cells divide and expand in an ordered method. When a cell's DNA is broken and it becomes malignant, it continues to divide despite the fact that new cells aren't needed. A tumor forms when the cells proliferate.

Cancer cells can spread over time, invading and destroying normal tissue in their path. Cancerous cells can also move to other places of the body and create deposits there (metastasis)

Surgery, radiation therapy, and medication therapies such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy are all available to help manage colon cancer.

Colon cancer is also known as colorectal cancer, which is a combination of colon cancer and rectal cancer, which starts in the rectum.

Symptoms

The following are symptoms and indicators of colon cancer:

  • Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhoea or constipation, or changes in stool consistency
  • Rectal hemorrhage or blood in your stool
  • Abdominal pain, cramps, gas, or discomfort on a regular basis
  • A feeling that your intestines aren't entirely emptied
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Weight loss has an unknown cause.
  • Many patients have no signs of colon cancer in its early stages.

Causes

According to specialists, the majority of colon cancers are caused by unknown reasons.

  • Age Factor - Colon cancer can be diagnosed at any age, however, the majority of people are over the age of 50. Doctors aren't clear why colon cancer rates in persons under the age of 50 are growing.
    Certain ethnic groups - African-Americans are more prone to acquire colon cancer than other races.
  • A low-fiber, high-fat diet.A typical Western diet heavy in fat and calories and poor in fiber may be associated with colon and rectal cancer. The findings of this study were mixed. Some studies have found that those who consume a lot of red and processed meat have a higher chance of developing colon cancer.
  • Inactive or sedentary lifestyle. People who are inactive are more prone to acquire colon cancer. Physical activity on a regular basis may reduce your chance of acquiring colon cancer.
  • Diabetes.Diabetes and insulin resistance increase the chance of getting colon cancer.
  • Obesity.Obese persons have a higher risk of colon cancer and a higher chance of dying from colon cancer than normal-weight people.
  • Smoking.People who smoke may be more likely to acquire colon cancer.
  • Alcohol.Heavy alcohol usage raises your chances of getting colon cancer.
  • History from the past. If you've had colon cancer or noncancerous colon polyps in the past, you're more likely to acquire colon cancer in the future.
  • Intestinal inflammatory disorders. Inflammatory illnesses of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, can raise your chance of getting colon cancer.
  • Syndromes that are inherited. Some DNA changes handed down through generations of your family can increase your risk of colon cancer dramatically. Only a tiny percentage of colon cancers are connected to hereditary genes. The most frequent inherited disorders that raise colon cancer risk are familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome, often known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
  • History of colon cancer in the close Relatives. You are more likely to acquire colon cancer if you have a blood relative who has had it. Your risk is higher if you have a family history of colon or rectal cancer.
  • Previous Radiation Therapy Previous radiation therapy to the abdomen for cancer enhances the risk of colon cancer.

Screening for colon cancer

Doctors recommend that patients with a low risk of colon cancer begin colon cancer screening around the age of 45. People who are at greater risk, such as those with a history of colon cancer in their family, should consider screening sooner.

There are various screening options available, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. You can pick which tests are suitable for you after discussing your choices with your doctor. The most prevalent colon cancer screening tests are listed below.

  • Colonoscopy
    A long, flexible tube (colonoscope) is placed into the rectum during a colonoscopy test. A small video camera at the tube's tip lets the clinician spot changes or anomalies throughout the colon.
  • DNA analysis of faeces
    The stool DNA test examines cells in your stool for DNA alterations that may suggest the existence of colon cancer or precancerous conditions. The stool DNA test searches for blood in your faeces as well.
  • Colonoscopy through virtual reality (CT colonography)
    A CT scan creates cross-sectional pictures of the abdominal organs during a virtual colonoscopy, allowing the clinician to spot changes or abnormalities in the colon and rectum.

Colon Cancer Treatment

The therapies that are most likely to benefit you are determined by your specific condition, such as the location of your cancer, its stage, and your other health issues. Surgery to remove the malignancy is frequently used to treat colon cancer. Other therapies, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, may be suggested as well.

  • Surgery
    is classified into three forms based on the stage of the disease.
    • Early-stage colon cancer surgery
    • If your colon cancer is tiny, your doctor may offer a minimally invasive surgical technique.
    • More advanced colon cancer surgery
    • Advanced cancer surgery
  • Radiation treatment
    Radiation treatment kills cancer cells by utilizing high-energy sources such as X-rays and protons. It might be used to reduce large cancer before surgery to make it easier to remove.
    When surgery is not an option, radiation treatment may be used to alleviate symptoms like pain. Radiation is sometimes coupled with chemotherapy.
  • Drug treatment that is targeted
    Targeted medication therapies target particular abnormalities found in cancer cells. Specific drug therapy that prevents these anomalies can destroy cancer cells.
    Targeted medicines are typically used in conjunction with chemotherapy. Typically, targeted treatments are reserved for persons with advanced colon cancer.
  • Immunotherapy
    Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that use your immune system to combat the disease. Because cancer cells create proteins that prevent immune system cells from identifying cancer cells, your body's disease-fighting immune system may fail to combat your cancer. Immunotherapy works by disrupting that process.
  • Palliative (supportive) care
    Palliative care is a type of specialist medical care that focuses on relieving pain and other symptoms of a serious disease.

Can Colon Cancer Be Prevented? -

You can lower your risk of colon cancer by following simple lifestyle changes. Follow the instructions below:

  • Consume a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and entire grains.Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may help prevent cancer. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables to guarantee a diverse range of vitamins and minerals.
  • Drink alcohol sparingly, if at all. Limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
  • Stop smoking. Consult your doctor about possible quitting techniques for you.
  • Exercise Everyday. . Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days.If you've been inactive, start cautiously and work your way up to 30 minutes. Also, ask your doctor before commencing any workout regimen.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you're currently at a healthy weight, aim to maintain it by combining a nutritious diet with daily exercise. If you need to reduce weight, see your doctor about healthy options. Reduce your calorie consumption and increase your physical activity to gradually lose weight.