Colorectal cancer is said to have been developed when the healthy cells in the rectum’s lining change and outgrow out of control and combine to form a tumor in the colon. Generally, a tumor can be benign or cancerous, while a cancerous tumor is malignant, which simply means that it would spread to other parts of the body. A benign then means that there would be growth, but it would not spread out of its starting point. Also, cancer development in the rectum might take years and can be influenced by environmental factors and genetic factors.
Aside from this, an individual might have inherited the syndrome, which is a risk factor that might increase the chances of getting cancer within months or a few years.
This part of the intestine is a large area of the body’s gastrointestinal or digestive tract system. The large intestine is made up of the rectum and the colon, which functions in the processing of body waste. More so, the colon makes up to about 5 to 6 feet of the intestine. The small intestine empties its content into the cecum, which is the beginning of the large intestine.
Colorectal cancer often begins at the polyps, which are primarily non-cancerous growth in the inner wall of the rectum that occurs to people as they get older. Therefore, to prevent colorectal cancer, noncancerous growth in the inner wall of the rectum must be found and removed. However, if this isn’t treated or removed, it could turn into a life-threatening situation. Besides, several forms of polyps growth exist medically; they include Adenomatous polyps or adenomas, which might grow to become cancerous if not attended to in time. The polyps are often easily detected using colonoscopy because they can usually bulge into the colon and be located by a trained doctor.
Meanwhile, approximately 10 percent of the colon polyps can be flat, and it is tough to find sometimes unless the doctors use a dye to highlight the polyp. More so, these flat polyps can quickly develop into cancerous growth despite their size. The rectum and the colon can also have hyperplastic polyps developed in them. These hyperplastic polyps are mostly not considered to be precancerous.
It is crucial that you should note that some symptoms and conditions of the symptoms highlighted here can be exhibited by someone who isn’t suffering from colorectal cancer. Some of those conditions can be IBS and hemorrhoids. When you suspect that there is cancer of the colon in an individual, these symptoms can begin on a mild level and last for as long as possible or change over the cancer infection’s cause. Indeed one of the best ways to quickly detect this cancer is to pay rapt attention to these symptoms and go for a medical checkup as soon as possible. It is also sure that if the cancer is detected early enough, then the treatment would work perfectly. However, some people do not experience the signs and symptoms until the cancer condition becomes very severe and reaches the advanced stage.
People infected with colorectal cancer might experience some of the following symptoms and signs that would be explained below. A symptom is a condition that is associated with a particular illness that is only experienced by the individual that is infected alone, and the signs might be visible to others. The symptoms category might include pain. Nausea, fatigue and uncomfortable body function. Signs can then include fever, rashes, elevated pulse, rashes or other visible conditions resulting from the cancer infection. As it has been pointed out, the conditions that would be mentioned here might be related to other illnesses aside from cancer. The general symptoms might include abdominal discomfort, a bloated stomach, and irregular movement in your bowel. Besides, the following might also be experienced
- Constipation, diarrhea, or a feeling that might seem like your bowel is empty and not functional.
- You might also experience bright red or dark pigment of blood on your stool.
- More so, you realize that your stool looks narrower than what it is supposed to look like.
- Continuous weight loss without any possible explanation for the cause.
- You can also experience fatigue and constant tiredness while not using so much energy in anything tangible.
- More so, there might be an unexplained iron deficiency, which means a reduction in the number of red blood cells in your body.
If you notice any of these conditions and symptoms, and it lasts more than usual, you should visit your doctor for a check-up. This is major because colon cancer can also develop in people that are young also. However, if, through the check-up session with the doctor, colon cancer was diagnosed, the treatment would relieve the symptoms and signs you have been experiencing.
Colorectal adenocarcinoma: these colon cancer types grow in the epithelial cells that line the body’s surface inside and outside. It can also be referred to as a rectum developed in the ling of your large intestine, which functions as a waste disposal tube. This growth often starts in the inner lining of the large intestine and continues to spread into the other parts of the layers in your digestive system. Adenocarcinomas have two rarely common subtypes, which are
- Mucinous adenocarcinoma: it makes up about 60 percent of the mucus in the rectum section. Therefore, the mucus can aid the spread of the cancer cells much more quickly than the common adenocarcinoma rectum cancer. Of all the rectal and colon cancer diagnosed in the hospital, mucinous adenocarcinoma often accounts for about 15 percent of it.
- Signet ring cell adenocarcinoma is a rare type of cancer that accounts for about 1 percent of colon cancer. It was named because of its appearance under the microscope, and it is more challenging, difficult to treat for the medical practitioners
Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors: A tumor that develops in the nerve cells is called the neuroendocrine cells, which are believed to help regulate hormone production. The carcinoid tumors grow slowly and could eventually develop in the gastrointestinal tract or the lungs. They contribute to about 1 percent of colorectal cancers, and about 50 percent of them if developed in the small intestine.
There are some other rare cancers of the colon that only makes 5 percent of colorectal cancer, which includes:
Primary colorectal lymphomas This type of cancer typically develops in the lymphatic system inside the cells called the lymphocytes. The lymphocytes are the white blood cells that serve as your body’s defender against sickness. It has been established that lymphoma cancer could start in many parts of the body, including the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and digestive tracts. This type of cancer often occurs at the later age of life and is primarily found in men more than women.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are another rare type of colorectal cancer that develops in the cells that are found in the GI tract, referred to as the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs). About 50 percent of this type of cancer starts in the stomach; the other majority type of this cancer also develops in the small intestine. The rectum is another common place where GISTs cancer develops and it is often classified as sarcomas or cancer that develops in the muscles, blood vessels or the connecting tissues.
Melanomas are mostly related to skin cancer and could also form in the rectum or the colon.
Medical doctors haven’t been able to ascertain what causes most colon cancer and what the risk factors are associated with it. Typically colon cancer begins when the DNA of healthy cells in the rectum mutates and outgrows the expected size it should be. Usually, the healthy cells grow and divide to keep the body healthy and to function effectively. However, when the cells become unhealthy and cancerous, it continues to divide and populate itself causing severe problems for the body health systems. As the cells continue to divide and accumulate, it would form a cluster known as a tumor or mass, which can then continue to invade sensitive organs in the body by spreading from the point it has developed to another body area.
Risk factors that contribute to the cause of colorectal cancer
Some factors might increase the cause of colorectal cancer, which would be discussed below.
- Old Age: colon cancer can be diagnosed with any individual at any age, but a higher percentage of the cancer is found in patients with a higher age range. More so, often, people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than the age of 50 years. Although it has also been recorded that the increase in the rate of younger people with colon cancer has been increasing, doctors haven't been able to detect the reason.
- African American Race: more than other people from other races, African American people tend to develop colon cancer more.
- Previous history with colorectal cancer or polyps: if you had previously developed colon cancer or colon polyps, you are also at a greater risk of developing cancer in the future.
- Inflammatory in the intestine: If there is a chronic disease of the colon in your body, this can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Inheriting the colon cancer risk: If some of the mutated genes are inherited from one generation to the other or through parents to offspring, then there is a higher chance of such individuals developing colon cancer.
- history of colorectal cancer in the family: There is a high probability of developing colorectal cancer if you have a relative who had the disease in the past. However, if more than one of your family members has suffered from the disease, you are at higher risk of developing the disease.
- High-fat diet: Another risk factor is the consumption of high fatty food, which is low in fiber but contains high calories. Some studies have also shown that people that consume meals high in red meat are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer.
- Obesity: If you are obsessed with your body mass index, you are also at a greater risk of developing colon cancer.
- Diabetic: People living with diabetes are also at risk of cancer because of the insulin resistance condition in their bodies.
- Smoking: Consumption of tobacco material is also now a risk factor that can increase the chances of developing colon cancer.
- Radiation therapy treatment: if you have at one time in the past been treated with radiation therapy, and if the radiation was directed to the abdomen, then you are also at risk of colon cancer.
- Alcohol consumption: Heavy alcohol use can also trigger the increased risk of colon cancer in the body.
Checking and diagnosing colon cancer in healthy people with no previous signs and symptoms to look for traces of colon cancer is a good way of detecting the diseases early enough. More so, finding cancer at an early stage proves that the risk would be much more minimal, and it could be cured easily.
Generally, doctors often advise that people who have increased risk factors of developing colon cancer should perform screening regularly. Meanwhile, people with colon cancer history should consider performing colorectal cancer screening early than 50 years. There are various screening options and diagnosis methods; you should talk to your doctor for further information on which is best for you as an individual. Perhaps if your doctor recommended colonoscopy as a means of testing for colorectal cancer, it is therefore easy to remove any polyps detected during the test before it turns to cancer.
Suppose you have experienced any signs and symptoms highlighted above. In that case, it could indicate that you have colon cancer, and your doctor might recommend one of the following test methods.
- Using a scope to examine the inside of your colon (colonoscopy): this method uses a long and flexible tube to examine the colon and the rectum, attached to a video camera and a monitor screen to see the entire rectum. If there is any suspicion of what might seem to be colon cancer, then the doctor would extract the tissue for testing through biopsies.
- Blood test: carrying out blood tests to determine the component cells in your blood if you have colorectal cancer is another means of diagnosing the cancer situation. The doctor might also use your blood for overall health and determine the functionality of your body organs, such as the kidney and the liver. The blood might also be tested for some chemicals produced by colon cancer, a carcinoembryonic antigen, or CEA.
If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, then some tests would be recommended for you to go through to understand the extent of the damages that might have been caused by cancer. Determining the cancer extent is another way to help the doctors understand the problem and solve it quickly. More so, the staging test also helps determine the treatment appropriate for you and how the treatment procedure should go.
If your colon cancer is at an advanced stage and your health system is very poor, your doctor might suggest that you undergo an operation to help relieve the blockage of your colon. The surgery would help relieve other conditions and complicated health situations you might be battling with. The surgery isn’t aimed at curing colorectal cancer but to help relieve the signs and symptoms of cancer and stop the bleeding pain you are experiencing.