colon cancer

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colon cancer,

cancer of any part of the colon (often called the large intestineintestine,
muscular hoselike portion of the gastrointestinal tract extending from the lower end of the stomach (pylorus) to the anal opening. In humans this fairly narrow (about 1 in./2.
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). Colon cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. Epidemiological evidence has shown that a diet high in fat and low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber contributes to the development of the disease. Smoking is also a factor in some types of colon cancer. Statistically, a family history of colon cancer or cancer of the female reproductive organs, a history of colon polyps, or a history of ulcerative colitis puts one at a greater risk of developing colon cancer. Colon cancer is most common in people over age 50.

Several genes that signal a hereditary predisposition to colon cancer have been identified. For example, mutations in either of two genes, MSH2 and MLH1, can predispose a person to hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). People in HNPCC families can undergo blood tests that can tell them whether they have an affected gene. With the information obtained from such screening, an appropriate course of preventive measures and follow-up tests can be initiated (see genetic testinggenetic testing,
medical screening for genetic disorders, by examining either a person's DNA directly or a person's biochemistry or chromosomes for indirect evidence. Testing may be done to identify a genetic disorder a person has, whether the disorder is already evident or not,
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A sudden change in bowel habits or blood in the feces (often detectable only in a laboratory) may be the first symptoms of colon cancer. In the early stages of the disease there may be no obvious symptoms. Diagnosis is made by physical examination of the rectum and a laboratory examination of blood for carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a tumor marker produced by colon cancers. These may be followed by an endoscopic examination of the colon with a sigmoidoscope (to examine the rectum and the adjoining sigmoid colon) or colonoscope (to examine the entire colon). A biopsybiopsy
, examination of cells or tissues removed from a living organism. Excised material may be studied in order to diagnose disease or to confirm findings of normality. Preparatory techniques depend on the nature of the tissue and the kind of study intended.
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 of any suspicious tissue, such as a polyp or a flat or depressed lesion, is then examined in a laboratory to determine if cancerous changes are present. If cancer is found, the patient is evaluated to determine the extent of the primary tumor and whether the disease has spread throughout the body.


Treatment depends upon the stage of the cancer. The initial treatment is usually local excision of the tumor or excision of a larger part of the colon followed by the joining of the two adjacent ends, a procedure referred to as end-to-end anastomosis. In some cases a colostomy (an opening that allows waste to be expelled through an opening in the abdomen rather than through the anus) is created either temporarily, to allow healing, or permanently, if significant portions of the colon have had to be removed. If the disease is advanced, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or biological therapies (therapies that stimulate the body's own immune defenses against the disease) may be used in addition to surgery.


See publications of the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the United Ostomy Association.

References in periodicals archive ?
But the adds that Rosenberg's report should encourage cancer investigators to take a closer look at aspirin's apparent ability to reduce colorectal cancer risk.
This publication is further validation that stool DNA technology offers a powerful tool for physicians and patients in detecting colorectal cancer," said Don Hardison, EXACT Sciences' President and CEO.
Alberts' group is just finishing a 100-patient follow-up study on fiber and calcium -- another potential inhibitor of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and womenCoand the second leading cause of cancer death - in the United States (after lung cancer).
Their research suggests that colorectal cancer is often the result of a series of mutations that both trigger the ras gene and cripple one or more genes that normally confer cancer protection.
One out of 18 people in this country will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime and 20 percent of colorectal cancers are found after the disease has spread to distant organs.
But within two to three months of starting calcium supplementation, new biopsies showed the cells looking more like cells from people at low risk of developing colorectal cancer.
The researchers caution that "the present evidence cannot show conclusively that vitamin D or calcium protects against the occurrence of colorectal cancer.
An important component of our education program is participating in meetings like this to help patients and caregivers learn more about treatments such as SIR-Spheres microspheres which are extending the lives of colorectal cancer patients every day.
Enrollment was closed after accrual of 238 patients due to an evolving standard of care in the first line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, including the emergence of bevacizumab as a component of therapy in this setting.
of the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany, presented preliminary results of a Phase II trial of ERBITUX, capecitabine (an oral fluoropyrimidine) and irinotecan (CCI) versus ERBITUX, capecitabine and oxaliplatin (CCO) as first line therapy for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
LE-SN38 is NeoPharm's NeoLipid(R) liposomal formulation of SN-38, the active metabolite of irinotecan (Camptosar(R)), a chemotherapeutic pro-drug approved for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer.