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Colon Cancer
Colorectal Cancer     By: Darwin Smith Jr.

             General Information

        The Disease
        • General Description
          • Colorectal cancer includes cancers of the colon, rectum, appendix
            and anus. When abnormal cell growth occurs, a tumor develops. If
            the cells of a tumor acquire the ability to invade and thus spread into
            the intestinal wall and to other sites, a malignant or cancerous tumor
            develops. Most colorectal cancers develop first as colorectal polyps,
            which are growths inside the colon or rectum that may later become
            cancerous.

        • Pictures of Cancerous Colon's

          • Symtoms
            • a change in bowel habits
            • diarrhea or constipation
            • feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
            • vomiting
            • blood in the stool
            • abdominal discomfort (gas, bloating, cramps)
            • weight loss for no known reasons
            • constant tiredness
            • unexplained anemia
          • Risk Factors
            • Age: Although colorectal cancer can strike at any age, more than 9 in 10 new cases are in people aged 50 or older.

            • Gender: Colorectal cancer affects both men and women; however, men are slightly more likely to develop colorectal cancer and die of the disease.

            • Race: African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer at a later stage and more likely to die from the disease
          • Life Expectancy
            • Over 90% of those diagnosed when the cancer is found at a local stage (confined to colon or rectum) survive more than five years.
            • Once the cancer is diagnosed at a regional stage (spread to surrounding tissue) that rate drops to 66%.
            • When the cancer has also spread to distant sites, only 8.5% of those diagnosed will reach the fiveyear survival milestone.
          • Genetic Information
            • Genetic conditions causing high colorectal cancer risk
              Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
              Prevalence:
              1 in 7000
              Accounts for:
              about 1% of CRC cases
              Lifetime CRC risk:
              more than 90%, mean onset age 40
              Diagnosis:
              more than 20 (usually less than 100) colorectal polyps, detectable at puberty or in early adulthood
              Treatment of choice:
              subtotal colectomy (leaving the rectum intact), followed by periodic sigmoidoscopy to evaluate the rectal area for evidence of cancer
              Genetic testing:
              A test for mutations in the APC gene is positive in about 80%-85% of families with FAP
              Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)
              Prevalence:
              1 in 200 - 1 in 2000
              Accounts for:
              about 5% of CRC cases
              Lifetime CRC risk:
              about 70%, mean onset age 44. Lifetime risk of endometrial cancer about 40%; risk of ovarian and urinary tract cancers also increased.
              Recommended colorectal screening:
              colonoscopy starting in the 20s. In addition, endometrial screening (with ultrasound or endometrial aspirate) is recommended for females
              Genetic testing:
              HNPCC is caused by mutations in five genes, MLH1, MSH2, PMS1, PMS2, and GTPB. Testing is available for mutations in MLH1 and MSH2 and can identify a mutation in about 60%-70% of families with HNPCC.
              Obtained from: ccaliance.org

               The Treatment
            • Most Succesful Treatment
              • Surgery is the main treatment for colon cancer. Usually, the cancer and a length of normal colon on either side of the cancer (as well as nearby lymph nodes) are removed. The two ends of the colon are then sewn back together. For colon cancer, a colostomy (an opening in the abdomen for getting rid of body wastes) is not usually needed, although sometimes a temporary colostomy may be done. Sometimes very early colon cancer can be removed through a colonoscope. When this is done, the doctor does not have to cut into the abdomen.
            • Today's Status
              • In 2003, an estimated 147,500 new cases of colorectal cancer was to be diagnosed. 57,100 Americans were expected to die of colorectal cancer last year. Colorectal cancer is the second leading killer cancer among men and women combined, second only to lung cancer.
            • Research
              • The American Cancer Society is currently leading the research into other treatment options for Colorectal Cancer along with several other American and Foreign research organizations.
            • Outlook
              • Excluding skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States and Canada (after lung and breast in women, and lung and prostate in men).

                The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 147,500 new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed in the U.S. in 2003. That means a person in the U.S. is diagnosed with colorectal cancer every 4 minutes. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States and Canada (after lung cancer).

                The American Cancer Society estimates that 57,500 people will die from colorectal cancer in 2003. That means one person in the United States dies of colorectal cancer every 9.3 minutes.

                One out of 18 people in this country will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime.

                To me this says that we definetly need to keep searching for a cure to Colon Cancer.  It has killed millions of people and continues to put many through the sufferings that come with the disease.  The Outlook for this disease is not good as with many other types of Cancer, it will take a technological breakthrough to wipe-out this illness.  The best way to improve the outlook of this disease is prevention and screening frequently.

            • Works Cited
              • www.cancer.org
              • www.ccaliance.org
              • www.websurg.idu.tu
              • www.pathguy.com