Cancer is the number two leading cause of death in the United States. The disease can strike almost any part of the body and is classified as an abnormal growth of cells. While it is true that 30 years ago a diagnosis of cancer was essentially a death sentence, modern science has advanced so rapidly that today, with screening and early detection, many forms of cancer are highly treatable and curable. Included among this list of highly curable cancers is colon cancer. Although the disease is deadly if not properly treated, many research papers from Paper Masters report that colon cancer, if caught in the earliest stages, has a 90 percent survival rate.
Description of Colon Cancer
To answer this question, a brief look at cancer and how it develops is first warranted. The human body is comprised of millions of cells necessary to carry on the basic functions of life. Instructions in cellular DNA periodically tell these cells reproduce themselves in order for the human body to regenerate. Cancer occurs when the mechanism that regulates cell proliferation fails and the human body begins manufacturing large numbers of cells that cannot be utilized by the body. This process occurs within a specific organ and this is what causes the appearance of tumors. In essence, tumors are simply large quantities of healthy cells that the body has produced in excess.
This is typically what happens in the case of colon cancer. Inside the colon, normal healthy cells begin replicating at an abnormal rate and form what is known as a polyp. Polyps are a form of benign tumor, which means that cells have accumulated in one place but have not invaded or damaged nearby tissue. Once a polyp has developed it may take several more years for colon cancer to appear. This is because, in the colon, the development of cancer follows a process of progression that covers a myriad of transformations for the polyp. Typically, as a polyp grows larger in size it has the potential to invade deeper layers of the epithelial tissue in the colon and can eventually metastasize through the lymph system and bloodstream.
Causes of Colon Cancer
But what causes a tumor to become malignant and develop into cancer? According to an author, while there are some factors that place some individuals a higher risk for developing the disease, the reality is that there is no definitive causative factor. However, an author notes the following as potential risk factors that may contribute to the onset of the disease. The following are potential factors that may contribute to the onset of colon cancer:
- Diet: Researchers have concluded that a diet high in fiber promotes more rapid movement of feces through the colon and reduces the colons exposure to possible carcinogens. Thus individuals with poor diets may develop this form of cancer.
- Environmental Hazards: Individuals that smoke or drink have a higher risk of developing the disease.
- Genetic factors: Although a definitive link between genetics and colon cancer as not been established, researchers still maintain that individuals with a family history of the disease are more susceptible to developing it.
- Age: In the average population persons over the age of 40 have a greater likelihood of developing the disease.