Review: Introduction to Colorectal Cancer

Here is what we have learned from Introduction to Colorectal Cancer:

  • Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer with an estimated 147,500 new cases expected to be diagnosed in 2003, 72,800 men and 74,700 women.
  • The exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown; however, at least eight different genes can be traced to dietary fat, particularly animal fat.
  • Risk factors for colorectal cancer, among others, include high-fat and low-fiber diet, sedentary work, having intestinal polyps, and history of breast or ovarian cancer. Rather than a review of earlier material, some of these risk factors here are being listed for the first time.
  • The early signs of colorectal cancer may mimic symptoms caused by other gastrointestinal illnesses, such as influenza, ulcers, and colitis (an inflammation of the colon).
  • Adenocarcinomas account for 90 to 95 percent of all large bowel tumors and they typically originate in the mucosa from a benign growth or adenoma.
  • Prognosis of colorectal cancer is related to the degree of tumor penetration through the bowel wall and the presence of involved lymph nodes.