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Health

Colorectal cancer – all you need to know

Colorectal cancer also called colon cancer is cancer that begins with the large intestine also called the colon. This is the end of the digestive tract. It is mostly found in adults but this doesn’t mean it’s exclusively in adults. It can also be found in people of younger ages. Just like all cancer cells. They begin as monocancerous clusters of cells called benign. This benign are called polyps and they are found formed inside the colon. As time goes on, polyps start to grow and become colon cancer.

Polyps have shown to be the root cause of all colon cancer, sadly there are no symptoms to show when there is a polyp so the doctors usually advise that you do a regular check-up on yourself to avoid the growth into cancer. “For most people, colon cancer is preventable, the best way to prevent colon cancer is to get a colonoscopy. This can help in finding small growths called polyps in the colon before they’ve turned cancerous and remove them.” Says Dr. Samrat Jankar, a well-known colorectal surgeon and  Gastroenterologist in Pune, practicing at Symbiosis University & hospital, Pune.

In the case where there is cancer from a polyp, all hope isn’t lost, there are tons of treatments that would better the condition and take the cancer away eventually. This includes surgery, drug treatment, radiation therapy, etc. Chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy most likely are the most used.

Symptoms

Blood in stool

This is one of the most prominent and pronounced symptoms of colon cancer. Whenever you go to the toilet and find some traces of blood on your stool then, there’s most likely a problem and there’s a chance this could be colon cancer

Weakness or fatigue

Feeling weak and tired every single time even after doing nothing or when no amount of rest is enough then you know you have a problem and when it is coupled with all these symptoms here then you may need to check yourself for colon cancer.

Sudden weight loss

You may begin to lose weight faster than you may ever understand. This may be due to a number of reasons but when they are coupled with colon problems then you should know that there are chances that you have colon cancer is high.

Sudden, frequent, and persistent change in bowel habit. You may start experiencing feelings associated with indigestion or constipation. Diarrhea is also a usual symptom. Your bowel movement begins to change and is disorganized.

These symptoms are symptoms of colorectal and not polyps. One may not experience any of these symptoms at the initial stages but when they do, it means the cancer size is getting significantly larger. It is important that you adopt the habit of checking yourself frequently and also pay attention to any changes in your body.

Causes

Just like many diseases, the actual cause of colon cancer is unknown but there are a good number of theories and postulated reasons why one can contact colon cancer. However, according to Dr. Jankar, an experienced laparoscopic surgeon in Pune, “Laparoscopic surgery for colon cancer has become the gold standard. Laparoscopic colon resection for cancer, can be performed safely and reliably with many short-term benefits to the patients while resulting long-term results.”

Mutation: This is one of the major reasons. Colon cancer starts from the mutation of a cell in the colon causing an anomaly that leads to cancer. Sometimes a cell’s DNA can be damaged and it divides and produces more of those damaged cells which further translate into cancer. In these cases, the body cannot regulate the new cells because it doesn’t understand them and thus cell division and multiplication cannot be controlled and this forms a tumor.

Damaged cells: just as mutation creates unidentified cells and thus causes cancer, damaged cells also are unidentifiable, and thus when they divide they grow into tumors as they cannot be regulated by the body.

Factors affecting your colon cancer chances

Old age

Most people prone to colon cancer are aged people. But this isn’t exclusive to them as it can be found in people of all ages including children. However, the vast majority of people who have colon cancer are above 50. Research has shown they the number of people with colon cancer below the age of 50 is increasing but the reason behind this problem has not been found yet.

Family history or genetics

When one comes from a family which has been associated with colorectal cancer then there’s a high chance one would get it. If it is in your gene to have that mutation once in your life then you most likely will. Also if in the past you had one then you have to keep checking in your lifetime to make sure you are safe

African-American race

People of this race have a high tendency of getting colorectal cancer, they are more likely than any other race.

Inflammatory intestinal conditions

When you have chronic inflammatory diseases then you have an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Sedentary lifestyle

People who lead a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of having colorectal cancer in their lifestyle. One way to avoid this is to do a lot of exercises.

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