About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer usually begins as a polyp. A polyp is a growth of cells in the lining of the intestine. Although most of the polyps are benign, they can grow and progress to become cancer. Most Colorectal cancers tend to be “silent” tumors. They grow slowly and often do not produce symptoms until they reach a large size. Unless detected early, colon cancer can be fatal.
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:
- A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool for more than a couple of weeks.
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
What causes Colorectal Cancer?
The exact causes of colorectal cancer are not known, however, like the majority of cancers it is believed that colorectal cancer develops as a result of a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Inherited gene mutations are believed to increase the risk of colon cancer, and a familial history of colon cancer will increase the risk of developing this disease.
In addition, other factors are thought to contribute to the risk of developing colon cancer. These include older age, a personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps, inherited syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis and Lynch syndrome, a diet low in fibre and high in fat, a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.