Understanding Colon Cancer

Ever wondered why we designate a certain month for a certain cancer? Well, more than any thing else it really gives us a chance to help increase awareness.

March is Colon or Colorectal Cancer month. So let's talk a little freely during this month what this means for us. I will be sharing a few thoughts (hopefully useful to you) through out the month of March. Let's start today with understanding what is colon or colorectal cancer?

First, these are pretty much the same thing generally speaking. Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. Depending upon their origin one can label them colon or colorectal. We often group them together because of their common features. Additionally, the same overall approach is used to diagnose both these types of cancers; colonoscopy (this is when a doctor uses a long, thin, flexible tube to see the inside of your rectum and colon). So, don't get hung up on colon vs. colorectal terms. Understand that this is a common cancer (excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States-ASCO 2018). It has known risk factors (some of which we can control, others we can not-more on that later this month). Based on these risk factors, appropriate timely screening can help with early detection and treatment as needed. Like many cancers this is also a result of uncontrolled growth of our cells in the colon. In most cases, the growth usually starts on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. The growth is given a name: polyps. Not all polyps change into cancer. But during screening there are ways to tell if polyps have high risk of turning into cancer or if they are already cancerous.

I will be sharing more on this topic in the coming days. Would love to hear your or your loved ones experiences. Also, If you want to follow, please LIKE the Advance Oncology - Bushra Cheema, MD page so you can see future posts. Stay well and take care of yourself.


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