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What Causes Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer is the cancer of large intestine, the lower part of the digestive system. And rectal cancer is the cancer of last many inches of colon. Together, they are often called colorectal cancers. Most of the cases of colon cancer start as small and noncancerous clumps of cells. They are referred to as adenomatous polyps. These polyps may become colon cancer over time. Polyps can be small and produce a few symptoms. Due to this, doctors always suggest regular screening tests for preventing colon cancer by detecting polyps before they develop into colon cancer. Read through the below lines to know the colon cancer causes.

Causes of Colon Cancer:
In many cases, it is not clear what exactly causes colon cancer. Health experts are aware that colon cancer develops when the healthy cells in colon become altered. For normal body functioning, healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way. But at times, the growth of cells gets out of control, i.e., cells divide continuously even when there is no need for new cells. In colon and rectum, this results in the formation of precancerous cells in the lining of intestine. After many years, these areas may become cancerous.

Inherited gene mutations which increase colon cancer risk:
This can increase the risk of colon cancer which can be passed through family, but these are not completely responsible for colon cancer. Inherited gene mutations do not make cancer inevitable, but can increase the risk of cancer. Following are the inherited colon cancer syndromes:

  • HNPCC (Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer):
    This is also known as Lynch Syndrome. This increases the risk of colon and other cancers too. People with this condition may develop colon cancer before 50 years of age.
  • FAP (Familial Adenomatous Polyposis):
    This is a rare disease which develops thousands of polyps in the lining of the rectum and colon. If left untreated, people may develop colon cancer before the age of 40.

Precancerous growths in colon:Often, colon cancer begins as precancerous cell clumps on the inner lining of colon. Polyps may appear in the shape of a mushroom. These precancerous growths may be recessed into the colon’s wall (non-polypoid lesions) or flat. If non-polypoid lesions and polyps are removed, it helps in preventing colon cancer.

Both HNPCC and FAP may be detected through the genetic testing. Consult the doctor if you are concerned about your family’s history of the colon cancer.

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