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Colon Cancer; Key Q&A.



My health care professional told me I have polyps. What are these and how will they be treated?

Colorectal polyps are excess growths of tissue in the lining of your colon or rectum. They can be noncancerous (hyperplastic), precancerous (adenomas), or cancerous. All colorectal cancers develop from precancerous polyps. Therefore, if these precancerous polyps are removed during colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy Sigmoidoscopy Definition

Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure by which a doctor inserts either a short and rigid or slightly longer and flexible fiber-optic tube into the rectum to examine the lower portion of the large intestine (or bowel).
, they will no longer be able to grow into cancer. Most colorectal polyps are easily removed during colonoscopy without the need for surgery. Once you have polyps, you are at increased risk for developing more polyps in the future and need repeated screening to detect and remove them.

My father and grandmother both had colon cancer colon cancer, cancer of any part of the colon (often called the large intestine). Colon cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. . What are my risks and what should I do?

First, realize the disease is highly curable--90 percent survive five years or longer--when diagnosed early. When the cancer spreads to other distant places like the lung or liver, however, the survival rate is only 10 percent. A family history of colon cancer or adenomatous adenomatous /ad·e·nom·a·tous/ (ad?e-nom´ah-tus)
1. pertaining to an adenoma.

2. pertaining to nodular hyperplasia of a gland.


ad·e·nom·a·tous
adj.
1.
 polyps significantly increases your chances of developing the disease, and the more family members you have with colon cancer, the higher your risk. Make an appointment with your health care professional now to discuss your personal and family health history and determine the next steps you should take. You will need to have colorectal cancer colorectal cancer

Malignant tumour of the large intestine (colon) or rectum. Risk factors include age (after age 50), family history of colorectal cancer, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, benign polyps, physical inactivity, and a diet high in fat.
 screening starting at the age of 40 or 10 years before the age at which the youngest relative was diagnosed with cancer. You will probably have regular surveillance of your colon by colonoscopy. You may also want to seek genetic counseling Genetic Counseling Definition

Genetic counseling aims to facilitate the exchange of information regarding a person's genetic legacy. It attempts to:
Purpose
 and/or testing.

Is there any way to reduce my risks for colon cancer?

Most important is to ask your health care professional about colorectal polyp/cancer screening beginning at age 50 (45 for African Americans) if you are at average risk, or earlier if you have family members (such as your father, mother, sister or brother) who had colorectal polyps or cancer. If you undergo appropriate screening for colorectal cancer, you may decrease your risk of death from colorectal cancer by over 60 percent. This is because we can detect and remove precancerous polyps before they turn into cancer, most effectively by colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. Research increasingly suggests that a diet high in fiber, fruits and vegetables and low in fat may help reduce your risk for colon cancer. Taking calcium and folic acid folic acid: see coenzyme; vitamin.
folic acid
 or folate

Organic compound essential to animal growth and health and needed by bacteria as a growth factor.
 may prevent formation of precancerous polyps and colon cancer. And getting regular exercise may help, too.

My health care professional told me my cancer had metastasized and that I had a "met" in another place besides the colon. What does that mean?

"Met" is short for metastasis metastasis /me·tas·ta·sis/ (me-tas´tah-sis) pl. metas´tases  
1. transfer of disease from one organ or part of the body to another not directly connected with it, due either to transfer of pathogenic microorganisms or to
, which means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Any time your health care professional uses a word you don't understand, stop him or her right there and ask what that word means.

What are my chances of a cure?

No one really knows if cancer is totally cured. But it is sometimes pushed back so far it never grows again, which is called achieving remission or long-term survival. Your chances of surviving for a long time largely depend on the stage of your cancer at the time of diagnosis and the success of treatments you receive. The earlier the cancer is detected, the higher your chances for long-term survival.

My cancer is pretty advanced. How long have I got?

Any number that a health care professional gives you is based on estimates derived from experiences with other patients. No one can tell you what your specific chances are. Survival averages are just that: averages.

What can I do about this ongoing pain?

One of the worst things that cancer patients do is to suffer pain when they do not have to! Discuss your pain with your health care professional so that you can get the relief you need. It might be necessary to see a pain specialist. Most health care professionals can refer you to someone who specifically handles chronic pain problems. If you have severe pain, narcotics may be the best type of medicine.

What caused this? Was it something I did? How long did it take to grow?

No one is really sure what causes colorectal cancer. It's very unlikely that it was something you did. It's possible that the tendency to get the disease is hereditary, that is, it may run in families. A polyp polyp, in medicine, a benign tumor occurring in areas lined with mucous membrane such as the nose, gastrointestinal tract (especially the colon), and the uterus. Some polyps are pedunculated tumors, i.e.  in your colon can take as many as 10 years to become cancerous. Colorectal cancer is difficult to find without regular screening and often does not cause symptoms until it's already well developed. So don't beat yourself up that you didn't "catch" it a few months ago.

References

"FDA Approves XELODA, First Oral Chemotherapy for the Treatment of Metastatic Metastatic
The term used to describe a secondary cancer, or one that has spread from one area of the body to another.

Mentioned in: Coagulation Disorders


metastatic

pertaining to or of the nature of a metastasis.
 Colorectal Cancer." http://www.rocheusa.com.

"Xeloda Fact Sheet." 2005 Roche Pharmaceuticals. http://www.rocheusa.com.

"How is Cancer Found?" American Cancer Society. Revised May 2004. http:www.cancer.org. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"Can Colorectal Cancer be Prevented?" American Cancer Society. Revised May 2004. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed September 9, 2004.

Family Colorectal Cancer Registry. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Jefferson Health System. http://www.jeffersonhospital.org. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"FDA Approves Erbitux for Colorectal Cancer." FDA Newsletter. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. February 12, 2004. http://www.fda.gov. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"Overview: Colon and Rectum Cancer." American Cancer Society. Revised May 2004. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"Colon and Rectal Cancer Rectal Cancer Definition

The rectum is the portion of the large bowel that lies in the pelvis, terminating at the anus. Cancer of the rectum is the disease characterized by the development of malignant cells in the lining or epithelium of the rectum.
." CancerNet. National Cancer Institute. National Institutes of Health. http://www.cancer.gov. Accessed September 9, 2004.

NCCN NCCN National Comprehensive Cancer Network
NCCN North Carolina Center for Nursing (Raleigh, NC)
NCCN Nevada County Community Network
 Colon and Rectal Cancer Treatment Guidelines for Patients. Version III< September 2003. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"Biological Therapies for Cancer: Questions and Answers" National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health: Cancer Facts. Reviewed August 16, 2004/ http://cis.nci.nih.gov/fact/7_2.htm. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"Colon Cancer Drug Investigated" ACS (Asynchronous Communications Server) See network access server.  News Today. American Cancer Society. Oct. 2001. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed September 9, 2004.

Veritas Medicine: Colon Cancer. Reviewed Dec. 2002. http://www.veritasmedicine.com. Accessed September 9, 2004.

Smith RA, et.al., ACS Guidelines For the Early Detection of Cancer. CA Cancer J. Clin. 2001:51:38-75

"Drug Shows Promise Against Advanced Colon Cancer" American Cancer Society. June 4, 2003. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"NCI-Funded Clinical Trials Show Aspirin Reduces Recurrence of Polyps" National Cancer Institute News Center. March 2003. http://www.cancer.gov. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"Cetuximab." The American Cancer Society. 2004. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed March 2006.

"Cancer Facts and Figures 2005." The American Cancer Society. 2005. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed March 2006.

"Fitting in Fitness: Simple Steps Add Up." The American Cancer Society. 2006. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed March 2006.

"Recommendations and rationale: Screening for colorectal cancer." U.S. Preventative Services Task Force." July 2002. http://www.ahrq.gov. Accessed March 2006.

"What's New in Colorectal Cancer Research and Treatment?" The American Cancer Society. March 7, 2006. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed March 9, 2006.

"Colorectal cancer: early detection." The American Cancer Society. February 2006. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed March 2006.

"New Recommendations by the American College of Gastroenterology gastroenterology

Medical specialty dealing with digestion and the digestive system. In the 17th century Jan Baptista van Helmont conducted the first scientific studies in the field; William Beaumont published his own observations in 1833.
 Call for Changes in Colorectal Cancer Screening of African Americans." The American College of Gastroenterology. March 2005. http://www.acg.gi.org. Accessed March 2006.

"Colorectal Cancer Rates Higher in African Americans." The American Cancer Society. April 21, 2000. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed March 2006.

"Can colorectal polyps be found early?" The American Cancer Society. March 7, 2006. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed March 20, 2006.

"How is colorectal cancer staged?" The American Cancer Society. March 7, 2006. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed March 20, 2006.

Keywords: colon cancer, colorectal cancer, colorectal polyp
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Publication:NWHRC Health Center - Colon Cancer
Article Type:Disease/Disorder overview
Date:Sep 7, 2006
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Previous Article:Colon Cancer; Questions to Ask.
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