The colon is a part of digestive system about 5 to 6 feet long that connects the small intestine to the rectum. The colon along with the rectum is called the large intestine. It is a well specialized organ responsible for processing and storing waste. Healthy body cells functioning normally when damaged and become cancerous cells, can invade and destroy normal tissue nearby and can travel to other parts of the body. Colon cancer is a disease of the large intestine which begins at caecum located in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen, and spread through all area of the abdomen to its joint with the rectum, situated in the deep pelvis.
Colon also known as colorectal cancer is a neoplastic disease of the large intestine, which can results from either inherited or somatic genetic alterations that develop over the course of a lifetime. Colon cancer is a mucosal disease or In other words colon cancers are derived from the mucosal lining of the bowel wall. Colon cancer most frequently begins as clumps of precancerous cells (polyps) on the inside lining of the colon. Polyps can appear mushroom-shaped, or they can be flat or buried into the wall of the colon. Removing polyps before they turn into cancerous can avoid colon cancer.
In the US, colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths because of cancer. Early diagnosis together with Prevention and treatment are the keys to a successful outcome for this disease. There is no single cause of colon cancer. Almost all colon cancers begin as benign polyps, which slowly develop into cancer. Exact causes of most colorectal cancers are not known but a great deal of research is being done
Causes of Colon Cancer
Here are some causes of colon cancer or factors contribute to its development according to researchers.
Researches show that about 25% of colon cancer cases have some kind of genetic link. Gene mutations leading to FAP (familial adenomatous polyposis) and HNPCC (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer) are the examples of the most common genetic causes of colon cancer. Inherited gene mutation increases the risk of colon cancer and it can run through families. These inherited genes are associated to just a small percentage of colon cancers. Inherited gene mutations don’t make cancer unavoidable, but they can significantly raise an individual’s risk of cancer.
The common forms of inherited colon cancer syndromes are:
- Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is also known as Lynch syndrome, it increases the risk of colon cancer and other cancers. People with Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer are likely to develop colon cancer before age 50.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is an atypical disorder that causes to develop numerous polyps in the lining of your colon and rectum. If the people with Familial adenomatous polyposis are not treated timely they have increased chances of developing colon cancer before age 40.
FAP, HNPCC and other inherited colon cancer syndromes can be identify through genetic testing.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Inflammatory bowel disease, often characterized by conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease raise the chances of developing colorectal cancer. In general, if the individual has inflammatory bowel disease for prolong time, it had greater chances of developing colorectal cancer.
Eating habits also play role in developing colon cancer. Colon cancer possibly be linked to a high-fat, low-fiber diet. Diets high in fat and cholesterol especially from animal sources have been found to cause colon cancer. Low-fiber diets have also been connected with increased risk. But some studies have found that the risk does not drop if you switch to a high-fiber diet, so this link is not yet clear.
Diabetics are more likely to develop colon cancer than non diabetic. Up to 40% develop colon cancer than people who don’t have diabetes. According to a research in the journal Gastroenterology found that insulin reliance contributes to development of colon cancer.
Obesity is a medical phrase that indicates someone goes beyond suggested weight. Overweight or obesity is linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer, particularly in men. Losing weight may help to lower the chances of developing the colon cancer.
Age is an important risk factor for colon cancer. Probabilities of developing bowel cancer increase as one`s get older. Age does not causes colon cancer directly. Actually by reaching at age 50, among four one person has polyps which may lead to development of colon cancer.
Smoking and drinking alcohol are other vital risk factors for colorectal cancer. Researchers have also indicated that alcohol increases possibility of colorectal cancer. There are two main reasons of developing colon cancer with long term cigarette smoking. First, inhaled tobacco smoke carries carcinogens to the colon. Second, tobacco use results to increase the size of polyp.