Case Study E Colon Cancer
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Colon is the longest and the last part of the alimentary canals. It is responsible for absorption of water and mineral salts so that the remaining wastes can be passed through the anus as waste. Colon cancer is a disease that may attack this part of the digestive track. There are many causes of this disease. In addition, the disease can be treated at early stages. This research paper will evaluate case studies to give more information about colon cancer.
Cancer is an abnormal growth of body cells. Colon cancer occurs when there is abnormal growth of cells in colon. This growth spreads to the walls of colon. If the disease is not treated, these cells spread to the surrounding lymph nodes and organs such as liver and lungs. The uncontrolled growth of cells is dangerous in that these cells use the oxygen, nutrients, and the space that is meant for other cells.
Colon cancer is a common disease in United States in that research has shown that one out of every seventeen individuals in United States suffers from colon cancer. In addition, reports show that colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in United States. This shows that colon cancer is a common disease in the United States. It is therefore important to know its causes so that preventive measures can be taken to avoid it where possible.
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Many case studies have shown that colon cancer can be linked to genes that are inherited from parents. This is why in some cases, people from a certain family background have been found to suffer from colon cancer. Doctors therefore evaluate family medical history to determine whether there are chances that an individual will suffer from the disease. A distorted gene is found to be the cause of colon cancer in cases where individuals have a family history on the disease.
It is possible to identify the distorted gene through medical activity. The probability that individuals with distorted gene will suffer from colon cancer is between 75 and 100 percent. This means that people with the distorted genes have high chances of getting the disease. When such individuals are tested and found to have the gene, medical practitioners recommend a transplant of the intestine to avoid the disease, which is sometimes fatal. However, it is only 5 percent of the colon cancer patients that are found to have family history of the disease. This shows that it is only a small percent that can be helped if doctors evaluated family history as a means of identifying people likely to contract colon cancer. There are other causes of the disease.
A part from inheritance, damage of genes can lead to uncontrolled growth of cells. When genes are damaged, they become unstable and if not repaired, the genes may not be able to control the growth of cells. This can be another cause of colon cancer. In this case, genetic change occurs after an individual is born and is not a result of genetic inheritance.
Age is another factor associated with colon ancer. Many case studies indicate that aged people are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. Specifically, 90 percent of colon cancer cases have been observed to be over 50 years. This shows that aged people have greater chances of contracting colon cancer as compared to young people.
Diet is another factor that can be linked to colon cancer. Obese people and group of people who live a sedentary life have higher chances of getting the disease as compared to people who regularly exercise. Food that is rich is fats and with less fiber exposes people to colon cancer. Red meat and other foods that take time to digest contribute to occurrence of the disease. Medical research has shown that the longer time that food takes in the colon, the higher the chances of contracting the disease. Diets consumed in many western countries are unhealthy and increase chances of contracting colon cancer. People who consume alcohol heavily are at a higher risk of contracting the disease as compared to those who do not take.
Other diseases have been found to increase risks of contracting colon cancer. People who have diabetes or have received radioactive treatment of other types of cancer increase the chances of contracting colon cancer.
There are no symptoms of colon cancer at early stages. The symptoms also depend on the location of the cancerous cells. When the cancerous cells have grown and have started to spread, symptoms of the disease can be seen. They include fatigue, blood stains in the stool, aneaemia, inconsistency in urge to defecate, narrow stool and sudden weight loss. In cases where cancer has already spread to other organs of the body, more symptoms can be seen depending on the affected area.
If these symptoms are identified, diagnosis of the disease is initiated. The individual is physically investigated. X rays may be taken to find out whether there is a tumor in the colon. A tube with a camera may be passed through the rectum to check the colon. Where symptoms are severe, x ray may be taken to check whether other organs of the body such as lungs and liver are infected. The blood of the individual may be tested also to find out whether an antigen produced by cancerous cells is present. In circumstances where polyps are found in the colon, some are removed and then evaluated using a microscope to determine whether there are cancerous cells.
Diagnosis is important in identifying the stage and type of cancer so that the best method of treatment can be undertaken. The method adopted also depends on the age and financial status of an individual. Treatment is undertaken with an aim of removing cancerous cells or relieving the pain caused by the disease. There is no treatment method that is said to be best in treatment of cancer.
Surgery is one of the methods of treating colon cancer. In this method, surgery is done with an aim of removing the part that is affected by cancer. Cancerous cells are removed and all the parts near the infected reggion. The two cut parts are then joined together. If the disease had infected other parts such as lymph nodes, these parts are also removed. The extent of surgery carried out depends on the extent to which cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Chemotherapy is another method of treating the disease. Chemicals are used to interfere with cell division process. For normal cells, the chemical does not cause total destruction. However, cancerous cells are affected by the chemical such that they finally die. This treatment is done in stages so that time is given to the colon for healing process to occur. Chemotherapy is dangerous in that it has some negative effects such as nausea and vomiting.
Colon cancer can also be treated using radiation. Radiation cannot however be used at early stages of colon cancer unless it has spread to other parts of the body. This method is also used in conjunction with other methods of treatment. It involves focusing high energy rays to the affected cells hence destroying them. Use of radiation however has several disadvantages. It causes vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and can cause other types of cancer.
Treatment of colon cancer is difficult and sometimes unsuccessful. It is therefore recommended that people should take preventive measures to prevent attack by the disease. Case studies have shown that people above the age of 50 years have greater chances of contracting the disease. It is therefore recommended that people above this age should go for regular screening so that the disease can be detected at early stages. Treatment of colon cancer at early stages is easy and in most of the cases successful.
People should also live a health life. They should reduce consumption of alcohol since it increases risks of contracting the disease. Regular exercise is also important to ensure people do not become overweight. Healthy eating is also encouraged. People should avoid consuming fatty food and red meat. They should instead eat more vegetables, fruits, and grains. These food products are healthier and reduce risks of contracting the disease. Smokers are also encouraged to quit smoking as a means of reducing chances of contracting colon cancer. People who have medical history showing that colon cancer is a common disease in their family should go for screening so that early preventive measures can be taken. Adopting these suggestions can greatly reduce the chances of contracting colon cancer even at old age.
In conclusion, colon cancer is one of the types of cancer that kills many people in United States. Case studies show that people above the age of 50 years have greater chances of contracting the disease. People who consume western foods rich in fats have greater chances of contracting colon cancer. However, colon cancer can be treated through methods such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation depending on the extent of spread of cancerous cells. There are measures that people can also take to reduce chances of contracting the disease.
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