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Colorectal Cancer  

Of the top ten deadliest forms of cancer in the US, colorectal cancer is ranked as the second highest type.  We will explore further details of the disease including causes, symptoms, treatments and important statistics. 

Colorectal can be deadly. As a matter of fact between 2003 and 2007 it took 268,783 lives of Americans. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the death toll for 2012 is estimated to be over 51,000 people so it is certainly a serious situation. The tragedy with this kind of disease is that it can be highly treatable if caught in the early phases. However many people either do not have adequate insurance to cover screening tests or simply don’t find it necessary to do so. 

Colon cancer begins and grows within the tissues of the colon.  Rectal cancer tends to grow in the last few inches of the large intestine.  Most cases of colorectal cancer begin as small clumps of benign cells which are called polyps.  If there are left untreated, they can eventually turn cancerous.  Again this is why proper screening is so essential. 

The common symptoms of colorectal cancer can include the following: 

  • Changes in bowel movements including diarrhea or constipation 
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool 
  • Bloating, cramping and general discomfort in the stomach area 
  • Stools which are thinner than usual 

The incidence of colorectal cancer tends to be higher for the following kinds of individuals: of lung cancer:

  • People over 50 
  • People with a family history of the disease 
  • People with a history of inflammatory bowel disease 
  • People who are either of African or Ashkenazi Jewish descent 

Lifestyle choices can affect the risk factors so it is important to eat a diet low in red and processed meats, remaining active, keeping a healthy weight and avoiding nicotine or alcohol. 

Colorectal cancer has different types and stages.  Adenocarcinomas generally account for 95 percent of the cases out there.   Mucinous adenocarcinomas in the next most common type and accounts for about 15 percent of all colon and rectal adenocarcinomas.  Since this type of cancer can be spread through the mucous, it can intensify and spread to other areas of the body much faster. 

The next most common type following this is signet ring cell adenocarcinomas and only accounts for less that 1% of all cases in the US.  Colorectal is very treatable and offers the patients good prospects if it is caught in the early stages.  This is why it is so critical to receive proper testing and screening, particularly as the risk factors increase. 

Common types of diagnostic tests used include the following: of lung cancer:

  • Colonoscopy – Normally the patient is put to sleep during this procedure and the gastroenterologist examines the colon for evidence of polyps or other abnormalities. If a polyp is identified, a tissue sample is taken to check for cancer 
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound – This procedure is less invasive while still providing excellent  

If the disease is present, a number of treatment plans may be implemented.  First of all colorectal surgery may be performed to remove as much cancerous tissue as possible.  If the cancer is limited to one or more polyps the prognosis is usually pretty positive. 

Monoclonal antibody therapy is a relatively new procedure which uses monoclonal antibodies to improve the natural immune system and help it to attack and destroy cancer cells.  This procedure may be used alone or in conjunction with traditional treatment options. 

There are other treatments as well.  But it is important to realize that while colorectal cancer has very sobering statistics, getting regular checkups and screening tests can help to save lives and lessen the severity of this disease significantly