A Synopsis on Colorectal Cancer | EasyDNA South Africa

The human colon and rectum

The human body is a very complex structure. It is subdivided into units which consist of cells, tissues, organs and systems. Each of the component units of the human body must function together for the good of the body. If a part of the body fails to function or functions abnormally, then the entire body will also suffer.

The human digestive system is made up of some organs which may include the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and so on. The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. The large intestine is made up of cecum, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum. The rectum leads to the anus from which solid food substances are defecated away from the body.

Overview of colorectal cancer

Just like the malignancy which occurs in other parts of the human body, colorectal cancer results from the abnormal growth of cells in the colon or rectum. This cancer could also occur in the appendix, a tube branching off the cecum. Cancerous growths occurring in these regions are the same and are generally known as colorectal cancer.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer

If a person suffers from this kind of cancer, its symptom is always apparent. However having said that, the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer truly depend on its location in the human bowel. With this, physicians discern the extent of the cancer and therefore know the treatment measure that should be applied. However we are going to list a few general signs and symptoms of this cancer, they include:

 

  • Deteriorated and aggravated constipation
  • The appearance of blood in the stools
  • Remarkable loss of weight
  • Loss of appetite and inability to eat
  • Fever
  • In people who are over the age of 50, the disease may give rise to nausea and vomiting.
  • People who are above the age of 50 may also experience anemia and rectal bleeding as symptoms of the disease

Possible causes of colorectal cancer

A study of causes or factors that lead to colon or rectal cancer can go a long way in helping us avoid this disease. Some practices which contribute to causing this cancer should be avoided. Statistics show that colorectal cancer occurs more in developed countries.

A few causes of colorectal cancer include:

  • Genetic mutation: Genetic mutation has been linked to colorectal cancer. Abnormal forms of genes MSH2, MLH1, PMS1 and PMS2 lead to this disease. This is because the normal forms of these genes correct errors which occur during cell division but the abnormal cells do not have the ability to do this, hence tumour growth occurs
  • Age is a risk factor when it comes to colorectal cancer. This cancer is oftentimes diagnosed in people above the age of 50. It also occurs more in men than women
  • The cancerous growth can also be caused by smoking
  • It also occurs when there is a lack of physical exercise
  • Obesity, smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol and high intake of fat could also trigger colorectal cancer

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