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In 2012, cancer caused around 577,190 deaths with the number increasing. Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in the United States. Cancer is a type of disease in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths in the United States, with it being the 3rd most common cancer found in men and women. The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2012, there will be about 51,690 deaths caused from colorectal cancer in the United States.
Colorectal cancer starts in the large intestine or the rectum. Most cases of colorectal cancer begin as small, noncancerous clumps of cells called adenomatous clumps. The polyps may not produce a symptom, which in return causes the colorectal cancer to go unnoticed. This cancer can be very dangerous, but if detected at an early stage it can become curable. Some of the symptoms for colorectal cancer include abdominal pain, blood in the stool, diarrhea, narrow stools, and unknown weight loss. If a person has any of these symptoms and is age 50 and older then they should get screened for this cancer. If colorectal cancer runs in the patients’ family history then it is recommended that you get screened at an earlier age.
There are five ways to test for colorectal cancer. The five ways are fecal occult blood test (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, and double contrast barium enema (DCBE). The FOBT checks for hidden blood in stool. In the sigmoidoscopy the rectum and lower colon are examined using a lighting instrument called a sigmoiodoscope. During a colonoscopy the upper part of the colon is examined using a different lighting instrument called a colonoscope. During the colonoscopy cancerous and precancerous growths can either be removed or biopsied and examined in case the sigmoidoscopy missed anything. In a virtual colonoscopy, special x-ray equipment is used to produce pictures of the colon and rectum. A computer can then show any polyps and other abnormalities. During the DCBE the colon is x-raid after the patient is given an enema with a barium solution. The barium solution allows for air to be introduced into the colon, which helps outline the colon and rectum for the x-ray.
Although there is not one single cause for colorectal cancer, some scientists associate a high fat, low fiber diet and red meat with it. This cancer has 4 stages, with 0 being very early cancer on the innermost layer of the intestine, up to IV, meaning that cancer has spread to the organs. Colorectal cancer offers 3 different treatments. The first one is a colectomy, which is a surgery where you remove all the cancer cells. The next one is chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill fast growing cells in your body. The last treatment they use is radiation therapy; this destroys cancerous tissue by using high energy.
The survival rate for colorectal cancer can be positive if caught early enough. Living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of yourself can really increase your chances of a long and happy life.