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What Is Colon Cancer? - A Disease That Has Guts To Kill!

December 19, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 164

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is one of the leading causes of death across the globe, particularly in Western countries such as the United States. In fact, in year 2008, 13 percent (13%) or 7.6 million of the total deaths of people worldwide is due to cancer. Among more than hundred types of malignancies, Colorectal Cancer lands at the fourth spot of the most common cancers among men and women.

Colorectal Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells or tumor formation in the large intestine (large bowel or colon) and the rectum. These cells can spread (metastasize) and damage other tissues or organs in the body; thus, referred to as cancer cells. Basically, the colon serves as storage site for the feces before being excreted from the body, while the rectum is the distal end of the colon that is adjacent to the anus. These structures of the digestive tract are the main sites for Colorectal Cancer, but cancer cells can also metastasize to the liver, lungs and other vital organs. Consequently, injury to the different body organs caused by cancer cells leads to several organ dysfunctions that can result to a person's death.

The most common causes of cancer are as follows

• genetic or hereditary origin;

• High dietary fat intake;

• low-fiber diet (low vegetable and fruit consumption)

• polyps (non-cancerous tumor) that are not removed from the colon; and

• Ulcerative colitis

Studies revealed that people with family history of colon cancer are high risk of developing the disease. Another cause of colon cancer is high fat dietary intake. Various researches show that the metabolism (breakdown) of fats results to the production of free radicals or carcinogens, which are substances that cause cancer. Meanwhile, low fiber dietary intake is generally associated with poor bowel movement resulting to diminished ability of the body to eliminate waste products including carcinogens. Cancer in the colon and rectum is also believed to be a complication of Chronic Ulcerative Colitis (bowel inflammatory disease) and polyps that have not been removed.

An individual with colon and rectal cancer will experience signs and symptoms that are also commonly observed to other bowel disorders and some of which are non-specific. These manifestations include:

• diarrhea (constipation and stool reduced if the tumor obstructs passageway for feces);

• abdominal pain, bloating or cramps;

• sudden weight loss

• fresh or old red blood, dark blood in stools leading to anemia

• body weakness or fatigue; and

• Shortness of breath

Hence, specific diagnostic exams are conducted to determine presence of colon cancer such as GI series and Colonoscopy. The confirmatory test for cancer is biopsy. This procedure is done by taking sample tissues from the colon during colonoscopy and studying them through a microscope. Then, another series of diagnostic exams including chest x-ray, ultrasonography of the whole abdomen or CAT scan of the lungs and abdomen are performed to verify spread of colon cancer cells to other organs in the body. Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a cancer marker can also be used to determine cancer metastasis through blood test.

Moreover, the most definitive treatment for colorectal cancer is surgery, in which the affected bowel is cut and removed and the unaffected parts are connected. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy may also be part of the treatment plan depending on the stage of cancer.

In general, there are treatments for colorectal cancer, but they are merely intended to relieve the signs and palliative symptoms. Regrettably, cancer remains incurable. A person can live for months or years after the diagnosis of cancer, but is always at risk of premature death, even in the presence of a palliative treatment. Like all other types of cancer, having colon cancer is a sobering diagnosis. However, awareness of the disease is what makes people more alert about health issues.

The information provided through this article is NOT a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. You should consult your health care provider if you have or suspect you may have a health problem.

Founded by a group of leading board-certified Gastroenterologists, GI for Life is committed to developing dietary supplements and products based on the most current evidence for supporting digestive, intestinal and colon health. Our products are formulated to meet our patients needs based on years of experience treating some of the most important and common gastrointestinal conditions. Our products contain only the highest quality ingredients to help ensure digestive needs are met. Visit us at for products and information.

Source: EzineArticles
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