Colorectal Cancer: Less Than 20% of Diagnosed Cases Have a Genetic Link

colorectal cancer malignant polypColorectal cancer, more commonly known as colon cancer, develops in the colon or rectum due to uncontrolled cell growth in these areas.

Recent studies have advanced a genetic/family link to colorectal cancer, but in 80% of patients presenting with this disease, dietary, age advancement, and lifestyle choices are the determining factors.

Education and screening for the disease are the two key components here, because identification of colon cancer while it is still confined to the wall of the colon is the optimum strategy, and is very curable.

If the cancer has metastasized, spreading to other organs of the body, treatment options then turn to focusing on extending the person’s life with chemotherapy as well as quality-of-life issues.

The majority of color rectal cancer cases occur because of advanced age and lifestyle choices by the individual patient. A small amount of cases identified with colorectal cancer are caused by underlying genetic disorders. Colorectal cancer generally starts in the lining of the bowel, and if left untreated, can metastasize into the muscle layers, and then through the bowel wall, potentially involving other organs in the body.

Somewhere between 75 to 95% of all colon cancer patients have developed the disease with little or no genetic risk for the disease.

Risk factors for this type of colorectal cancer includes advancing age, gender (predominately male), high fat intake, alcohol, red meat, obesity, smoking, diabetes and lack of physical exercise.

10 to 20% colorectal diagnosed cases have a genetic link, and these patients generally have a family history of two or more first-degree relatives having contracted colorectal cancer. These people are at 2 to 3 times increased risk of the disease than people with no first-degree relatives having ever been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Persons diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and/or ulcerative colitis, also known as inflammatory bowel disease, are at increased risk of contracting colorectal cancer. And the risk gets larger the longer the person has the disease, and the intensity of the inflammation also increases the risk factors.

More than 1 million people globally are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, with over half a million deaths. It is the second most common cause of cancer in women and the third most common cause of cancer in men. It is the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths globally, after lung, stomach, and liver cancer and is more common in developed countries.

Prevention of colorectal cancer involves colonoscopies on a regular basis, as your age advances, and there are some dietary recommendations that will help fend off this cancer. Consuming more whole grains fruits nuts and vegetables, along with reducing the intake of red meat has shown promising results.

Article by Jim Donahue

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