Ans.: Colon Cancer is a disease in which normal cells in the lining of the colon or rectum begin to change, start to grow uncontrollably, and no longer die. These changes usually take years to develop; however, in some cases of hereditary disease, changes can occur within months to years. Both genetic and environmental factors can cause the changes. Initially, the cell growth appears as a benign (noncancerous) polyp that can, over time, become a cancerous tumor. If not treated or removed, a polyp can become a potentially life-threatening cancer. Recognizing and removing precancerous polyps before they become cancer can prevent colorectal cancer.
The Colon and rectum make up the large intestine, which plays an important role in the body's ability to process waste. The colon makes up the first 5 to 6 feet of the large intestine, and the rectum makes up the last 6 inches, ending at the anus.
The Colon has four sections. The ascending colon is the portion of the colon that extends from a pouch called the cecum (the start of the large intestine into which the small intestine empties) on the right side of the abdomen. The transverse colon crosses the top of the abdomen. The descending colon takes waste down the left side. Finally, the sigmoid colon at the bottom takes waste a few more inches downward to the rectum.
Colon Cancer can begin in either the colon or the rectum. Cancer that begins in the colon is called Colon Cancer, and cancer that begins in the rectum is called rectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer often begins in polyps, noncancerous growths that may develop on the inner wall of the colon and rectum, as people get older. There are several forms of polyps. Adenomatous polyps, or adenomas, are growths that may become cancerous and can be detected with a colonoscopy. One way to prevent colorectal cancer is to detect and remove polyps before they become cancerous. About 10% of colon polyps are flat and hard to detect through colonoscopy, unless a dye is used to highlight them. These flat polyps have a high risk of becoming cancerous, regardless of their size.