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Colon Cancer – An Overview

Mar 31, 2017

Colon Cancer – An Overview

Colon cancer, like every other cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells. This abnormal cell growth takes place inside the large intestine also called as colon, hence the name Colon cancer, when the cells in the large intestine start multiplying rapidly. Colon cancer is usually known to develop from a clump of cells known as adenomatous polyps which attach themselves to the inner wall of the colon. These polyps are generally benign i.e. they are harmless and non-cancerous. But if not removed in time, they progress into cancerous (malignant) polyps leading to colon cancer. If not controlled, these cancer cells start spreading to the surrounding tissue and destroy it. They also have the ability to travel to various other parts of the body in the blood stream thereby spreading the cancer to other areas of the body over time. Colon cancer is known as colorectal cancer when the tumor develops in the rectum which is the end part of the colon.

The exact causative agent of any cancer is unknown till date; same is the case with colon cancer.  It is believed that several factors known as risk factors act together in causing colon cancer. They are:

  • DNA mutations
  • Hereditary factors /  genetic factors
  • Damaged DNA
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s disease

Cancer is known to present itself with an array of signs and symptoms which might be difficult to recognize as cancerous. The symptoms of colon cancer vary depending on the position of the tumor in the colon, and most of the times do not even exhibit themselves till the latest stages. But some of the common symptoms include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Passing of blood in the stools
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Pain while passing stools
  • Increased urge to defecate
  • Weakness
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
     

 

The treatment for colon cancer depends on the stage the cancer has progressed to. The common treatments are surgery, where the tumor is attempted to remove to avoid metastasis; chemotherapy, where the cancer cells are killed via chemicals; radiation therapy, where the cancer cells are destroyed by radiation. Colon cancer can be easily avoided through regular check-ups and colonoscopy.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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