Colorectal Cancer - Dr. Snita Sinukumar
- Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the rectum or colon, which is the large intestine. Both of these organs are in the lower portion of your digestive system. The colon is also known as the large intestine, and the rectum is at the end of the colon.
- The colon and rectum, which together form the large bowel, perform vital functions in the last phases of digestion.
- Digestion first begins in the mouth where food is chewed into smaller pieces and swallowed. The food travels down the esophagus to the stomach where it is further broken down by gastric juices and sent to the small intestine.
- The small intestine continues to break down the content in addition to absorbing most of the nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins.
- Once the contents have passed through the small intestine, the material has become mostly liquid and is moved into the colon, which measures about 5 ½ feet long.
- The main function of the colon is to absorb water and dehydrate the leftover material, forming semi-solid matter, or stool. The colonmoves the stool into the approximately 6-inch long rectum, which acts as a holding chamber, until it is ready to be expelled through the anus.
There are some factors that may increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer:
Some factors that increase your risk of getting colorectal cancer are unavoidable. Getting older is one of them. Your chances of developing the cancer increase after you reach the age of 50. Some other unavoidable risk factors are:
- A prior history of colon polyps
- A prior history of bowel diseases
- A family history of colorectal cancer
- Having a genetic syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
- Being of Eastern European Jewish or African-American descent
Some risk factors for colorectal cancer are:
- Being overweight or obese
- A heavy use of alcohol
- Having type 2 diabetes
- Having a sedentary lifestyle
- Consuming a diet high in processed foods or red meats