Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is when cancerous growths are found in the colon or rectum. Many times, what started as small, noncancerous clumps of cells (known as adenomatous polyps) turn into cancerous cells. Most often, these polyps don’t produce symptoms, which is why it is highly recommended for middle-aged adults to receive regular screening tests such as colonoscopies.
Although the exact reason for colon cancer is unknown, doctors have determined various risk factors. These factors include your age, a high fat intake diet, a family history of colorectal cancer and polyps, the presence of polyps in the large intestine, inflammatory bowel diseases and primarily chronic ulcerative colitis which can increase the risk for developing colon cancer.
Approximately 90% of colorectal cancers are diagnosed after age 50. There is also a higher occurrence of colon cancer found in African Americans. Other “at-risk” factors include those who live a sedentary lifestyle, smoke and are overweight/obese. Additionally, your diet is an important factor because the colon is part of the digestive system which can be seriously affected by your food intake. Therefore, it’s a best practice to eat healthier foods, some of which can be beneficial to your colon as well as other organs.
There are various types of colon cancer, however the majority are caused by adenocarcinoma (a malignant tumor that develops from secretory epithelium or glandlike structures). This condition begins with early tumors developing as small, benign (noncancerous) polyps that continue to grow and eventually turn into malignant tumors.
Other types of colon cancer causes include:
Before a doctor can perform a diagnosis, he or she will need to perform a complete physical examination. Also, the doctor will need to collect information about your past medical history as well as your family’s medical history. Usually, a diagnosis cannot be made until procedures such as a colonoscopy or a barium enema x-ray are administered and results are obtained.
Treatment ultimately depends on the stage of the cancer, age, health status and other crucial characteristics. Treatments for colorectal cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of all treatment options. As with most types of cancer, if it is found early, surgery offers a better possibility for a cure.
If you are seeking colon cancer treatment in San Antonio, the specialists at the Digestive & Liver Disease of San Antonio can create a treatment plan just for you. Call (210) 941-1662 or visit our website to get started today.