What is Colon Cancer? (Rectal Cancer – Colorectal Cancer) Definition
Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon and is also part of the large intestine. Together, they are referred to as colorectal cancer. This form of cancer is common in both women and men.
Most colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas, meaning that they begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids. Colorectal cancer often begins as a growth called a polyp, which may form on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. Some polyps can become cancerous over time. Finding and removing polyps can prevent colorectal cancer. Polyps may be small and may not show any symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by identifying and removing polyps before they become colon cancer.
Two primary types of polyps:
- Adenomatous polyps (adenomas): These polyps sometimes change into cancer. Because of this, adenomas are called a pre-cancerous condition.
- Hyperplastic polyps and inflammatory polyps: These polyps are more common, but in general they are not pre-cancerous.
According to the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in men and women in the United States.
Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
According to the Mayo Clinic, possible signs and symptoms of colon cancer can include:
Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- Weakness or fatigue
- A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool that lasts longer than four weeks
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Abdominal discomfort which is persistent, such as cramps, gas or pain
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty
- Stools that are narrower than usual
- Unexplained weight loss
Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms appear, they’ll likely vary, depending on the cancer’s size and location in your large intestine.
What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure which allows doctors to look inside the rectum and colon for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer. In the procedure, a colonoscope is inserted through the rectum into the colon. A colonoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove polyps or tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.
See below for updated news and information regarding Colon Cancer including new medical research, treatments and advancements.
Latest Colon Cancer News
Colorectal Cancer Research News: Enzyme Could Protect Against Type of Colorectal Cancer By Suppressing Tumors, Study Finds
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