Colon cancer is one the most prevalent forms of cancer among the American population. Although inappropriate diet and unhealthy lifestyle considerably increase the risks of developing colon cancer, many forms of the disease occur on the premises of underlying genetic predispositions. Statistics reveal that more than 5 percent of colon cancers worldwide are caused solely by genetic dysfunctions and physiologic abnormalities. Depending on their underlying cause, colon cancers can be either acquired (sporadic colon cancers), or genetically-inherited.
Most cases of colon cancer occur due to formation of polyps in different regions of the large bowel (colon). Colonic polyps are prominent soft tissues that can easily become malignant. There are many different types of hereditary colon cancers and many of them are primarily caused by colonic polyps. The most common types of genetically-inherited colon cancers are adenomatous polyposis and Gardners syndrome. Non-polyposis colon cancer is also common among hereditary forms of the disease. Unlike other types of genetically-inherited colon cancers, non-polyposis colon cancer doesnt always involve the formation of polyps. Uncommon forms of hereditary colon cancer are Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and juvenile polyposis.
Unlike non-hereditary forms of colon cancer, which are usually developed by people with ages over 50, hereditary colon cancers can occur in young people as well. In fact, some forms of genetically-inherited colon cancers are predominantly developed by very young children and teenagers.
People who have a family history of colon cancer should pay regular visits to an oncologist, as it is very important to timely reveal the signs of large bowel disease in order to maximize the chances of recovery. Discovered in its incipient stages, colon cancer can be effectively overcome through the means of surgical intervention or specific therapies. However, if colon cancer is discovered late, patients prognosis is generally uncertain.
Colonoscopy is a very common and reliable method of revealing traces of colon cancer in patients. Through the means of colonoscopy, doctors can quickly spot potential signs of abnormalities at the level of the large bowel. Colonoscopy is very useful in the process of diagnosing hereditary or sporadic forms of colon cancer, as it can easily reveal the presence of malignant colonic polyps or extended tumors. People who have blood-relatives affected by colon cancer are very exposed to developing the disease as well. Thus, they should receive frequent examinations with colonoscopy in order to timely discover signs of malignant activity at the level of the large bowel.
Both acquired (sporadic) and hereditary colon cancers are life-threatening diseases and they need to be discovered as soon as possible in order to minimize the risk of morbidity. Colon cancers have an unpredictable pattern of evolution and their development is strongly influenced by genetically-inherited abnormalities. While lifestyle improvements and healthy diet can diminish the risks of developing sporadic colon cancer, people with underlying physiological abnormalities of the large bowel are very vulnerable to developing hereditary colon cancer regardless of their actions.