Colon Cancer: What Is Colon Cancer?

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What is colon cancer? Colon Cancer is cancer of the colon, or large intestine. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last few inches of the colon. Together, they're often referred to as colorectal cancers. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, harmless clumps of cells called polyps. Over time some of these abnormal growths may become colon cancers. Polyps may be small and produce few, signs of sickness. Because of this, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer. Symptoms Some symptoms for colon cancer are, change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation, rectum bleeding or blood in your stool, constant abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain, a feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely, weakness or tiredness, and or unexplained weight loss. Many people with colon cancer experience no signs of sickness in the early stages of the disease. When signs of sickness appear, they'll likely differ, depending on the cancer's size and location in the large intestine. If you notice any of these signs of colon cancer, such as blood in your stool, make an appointment with your doctor. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin screening for colon cancer. Guidelines generally recommend colon cancer screenings begin at age 50. Many doctors recommend more frequent or earlier screening if you have other risk factors, such as a family history of the disease. Causes In most cases, it's not clear what causes colon cancer. Doctors know that colon cancer happens when healthy cells in the colon become changed. Healthy cells grow and divide in a way to keep your body functioning properly. But when a cell is damaged and becomes cancerous, cells continue to divide, even when new cells aren't... ... middle of paper ... ...rely is a routine component of treating rectal cancer, particularly if the cancer has passed through the wall of the rectum or traveled to nearby lymph nodes. Radiation therapy, normally combined with chemotherapy, may be used after surgery to shorten the risk that the cancer may recur in the rectum where it started. Prevention To prevent new cancers from taking off, scientists look at risk factors and protective agents. Anything that increases your chance of getting cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that lessens your chance of getting cancer is called a cancer protective factor. Some risk factors for cancer can be averted, but many cannot. For instance, both smoking and inheriting certain genes are risk factors for some types of cancer, but only smoking can be avoided. Normal excise and a healthy diet can help reduces the chances, but do not promise.

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