Cancer of the colon (large bowel tumor)

Pelvis | Oncology | Cancer of the colon (large bowel tumor) (Disease)


Colorectal cancer is a cancerous tumor of the lining of the colon or rectum. The symptoms of colorectal cancer vary depending on the site of the tumor. They may include the following: changes in the frequency of bowel movements or in the general consistency of the faeces; abdominal pain; blood in the faeces; rectal discomfort or a sensation of incomplete emptying of the rectum; loss of appetite. The symptoms of colorectal cancer may be mistaken for the symptoms of a less serious disorder, such as hemorrhoids. Other conditions such as Irritable bowel syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohns disease, Diverticulosis, and Peptic ulcer disease can have symptoms that mimic colorectal cancer.

Causes and Risk factors

There is no single cause of colon cancer. Nearly all colon cancers begin as noncancerous (benign) polyps, which slowly develop into cancer. Higher risk for colon cancer are persons who: are older than 60; are African American of eastern European descent; eat a diet high in red or processed meats; have cancer elsewhere in the body; have colorectal polyps; have inflammatory bowel disease like Crohns disease or Ulcerative colitis; have a family history of colon cancer; have a personal history of breast cancer. Obesity, smoking, alcohol and a lack of physical exercise are also risk factors.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of colorectal cancer is via tumor biopsy typically done during sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. X-ray and Computer Tomography (CT) may be also necessary.

Treatment of colorectal cancer depends on the site of the tumor. In general, treatments may include: surgery, most often a colectomy, to remove cancer cells; chemotherapy to kill cancer cells and radiation therapy to destroy cancerous tissue. Most colorectal cancers should be preventable, through increased surveillance, improved lifestyle, and, probably, the use of dietary chemopreventative agents. ...

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