Colon Cancer is a malignant tumor that shows up in the inner wall of the large intestine. This type of cancer is the 3rd largest leading cause of cancer in the United States alone in men. It is the 4th leading cause of cancer in women. Most of these cancers of the large intestine come from the inner cells that are exposed to toxins from food and bacteria, as well as the dying and reproducing of these cells. This is a key process as mistakes involving genes and cell replacement occur and uncontrolled proliferation of abnormal cells give rise to cancer. As these cells grow and divide, they can lead to abnormal growths within the colon called polyps.
These polyps grow slowly and do not spread but are precancerous tumors. As they grow though, additional genetic growths destabilize the cells. These precancerous tumors begin to grow through the tube and not the middle of it and gain favor with layers of the intestine and polyps to become cancerous. After becoming cancerous they grow locally and continue through the wall of the intestine and through the adjacent structures. When this happens, the primary tumor becomes more of a problem and also harder to remove. At this point, the person will experience frequent pain and blockages of the colon and the cancerous cell will begin to metastasize.
Metastasis is the shedding of thousands of these cells a day into the blood and lymphatic system that enables their cancer to spread and go to other locations as well. It is believed that these lymph nodes attack the liver, abdominal cavity and lungs. The increase in the risk of colon cancer is partially attributed to high fat intake, family history, having polyps in the large intestine and inflammatory bowel diseases. A relationship between a high-fat diet and high colon cancer rates is extremely high.
Early detection and removal of precancerous polyps before turning cancerous is the best prevention. This will improve the chances of beating this disease. It has been recommended by professionals that individuals 40 and over should have an annual digital examination of their rectum and stool. Genetic counseling and testing might be another option in the prevention of colon cancer. Be proactive and see that you have done everything possible to prevent these polyps turning to cancer. Surgery to remove any polyps is still the best preventive measure.
George Manover of the U.S originally provided this information. George is an avid traveler and enjoys writing on many topics of interest, and I feel he wrote a thorough and interesting article on colon cancer.
– Dr Fredda Branyon