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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).

Diagnosis

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

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.

Bibliography

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

References in periodicals archive ?
Together, these findings could lead to new ways to more effectively screen for and ultimately prevent colon cancer, a disease that kills more than 50,000 people each year in the U.
Gender disparity is also not understood by researchers at this time, with cancer researchers finding that men are 30 percent more likely to develop colon cancer than women.
10, 2014, in BMC Medicine, Professor Aleksandrova and her team examined data on 347,237 people, to evaluate how the five lifestyle factors affected colon cancer risk.
The researchers noted that, although the findings are preliminary, they emphasize the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices after patients have been diagnosed with colon cancer.
They found that patients who lacked a genetic profile which yields high levels of the enzyme 15-PGDH got almost no protective benefit for colon cancer from aspirin.
Since colonoscopy became the gold standard, rates of colon cancer across the United States have been reduced.
The events are a series of 13 five-kilometer run/walks, in which participants are encouraged to wear boxer shorts to draw attention to the area of the body that is affected by colon cancer.
The findings on the Pattern of colon cancer in the UAE, published in the Saudi Medical Journal, provided a springboard for action at this week's awareness event on colon cancer.
The VELs signature is notable because it cuts through the complexity of the many genes that are changed in colon cancer, to identify genes that are direct targets of alterations on chromosomes," said Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, Ingalls Professor of Cancer Genetics in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the School of Medicine, member, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and oncologist at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, whose team collaborated on the study.
A high intake of lutein and zeaxanthin was associated with a 59 to 64 percent lower risk of colon cancer but only among women who consumed large amounts of omega-3 fats.
Roche added that the reported results from AVANT will not impact Avastin's approval for treatment of advanced colon cancer.
Colon cancer usually affects people 50 years old and older.