What is Colorectal Cancer (Large Intestine Cancer)?

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Colon cancers are one of the most common types of cancer in the world. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Health, colon (large intestine) cancer is among the top 5 most common types of cancer in our country. Although there is a risk of colon cancer at any age, it is most frequently observed after the age of 50. When the distribution by gender is examined, colon cancer ranks second in women and third in men among all cancers. Memorial Health Group General Surgery Department experts gave information about colon cancer and treatment in colon cancer.

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer, which is a disease that develops in the region at the last part of the digestive system, known as the “large intestine” among the people, is seen in 1 out of every 20 people in their life. Colon and rectum are part of the digestive system. The large intestine is the organs that come after the small intestine and is about 1.5 meters long. It starts with the cecum from the lower right side of the abdomen in the shape of an inverted U, goes up and passes horizontally through the abdomen by turning under the liver. It comes under the spleen located in the upper left corner and makes a turn and joins the rectum by turning down from the left side. The rectum is the last part of the digestive system, which is approximately 15 cm long and formed as a result of the enlargement of the large intestine. F Colon cancer begins in the cells located in the colon. As the number of cells increases, it spreads around the column in a circular fashion like a napkin ring. If diagnosed early, cancer cells can only be detected within the colon. If it is not diagnosed early, the cancer may spread to nearby organs, lymph nodes and liver, lungs and other organs through the blood circulation. The most important criterion that brings success in the treatment of colon cancer is early diagnosis. When colon or colon cancer is detected at an early stage, it is possible to get rid of the disease completely.

Colon (Large Intestine) Cancer Risk Factors

In developed countries, the rate of colon and rectal cancer is 4 to 10 times higher than in developing countries. Causes of colorectal cancer; lifestyle, changes in environmental factors and hereditary genetic factors. Genetic Factors The cancer risk of a person with a family history of colorectal cancer is higher. Hereditary genetic factors increase the risk ratio. Both familial adenomatous polyps in the large intestine and hereditary non-polyp colorectal cancer, also known as Lynch syndrome, increase the risk of colon cancer. Although genetic colorectal cancers constitute only 5-10% of the disease, the age of getting sick of people with these genetic factors is younger than other colon cancer patients and has more vital risks. Hereditary non-polyp colorectal cancer (Lynch Syndrome) is the most common of the genetic colorectal cancers. It is caused by an inherited gene mutation as a result of incompatible DNA matches. The average age of diagnosis is 45. With this type of gene mutation, there is a predisposition to the formation of endometrium (womb lining), ovarian, small intestine, ureter (urinary tract) and renal pelvis (kidney pool) cancer. The presence of a cancer history in the family and first degree relatives of the person seriously affects the occurrence of the disease. People with colon cancer in their family should start colonoscopy 10 years ago, if the age of colon cancer is detected nearby. Completely healthy people who do not have a family history of colon cancer or have any complaints, at least once from the age of 50 colonoscopy should be done. Easily to see specialist doctors Online hospital appointment available? Polyps May Cause Colon Cancer In the formation of colon cancer; Polyps are effective in addition to excessive fatty, red meat-based diet, obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption. When polyps are seen in the large intestine during screening colonoscopies, it is possible to prevent the disease by removing it before it becomes cancerous. A history of breast and ovarian cancer in women also increases the risk of colon cancer in these people. It is recommended that people with breast and ovarian cancer be screened for colon cancer without waiting for the age of 50. Polyps usually start to show symptoms in the late period, when they turn into cancer. Only a small fraction of polyps turn into cancer. However, since the majority of cancers develop from polyps, it is an issue that needs attention. When we look at the general population, this rate is around 10-15%. Around the age of 50, about 25% of the population have different types of polyps. Rated 70 age The incidence in our needle is close to 50%; In other words, the incidence of polyps increases with age. Properties of polyps;

  • It doesn’t go away by itself.
  • It has a genetic feature. Patients with colon cancer in their first degree relatives and polyps detected in previous examinations constitute the risk group and close follow-up is required.
  • Polyps are generally around 1cm. Larger than 2 cm can be dangerous and should be removed.
  • Symptoms such as severe pain, intestinal obstruction, weight loss are usually late symptoms. Problems such as hemorrhoids and anus fissure (crack) may cause delays in the diagnosis and treatment of rectal cancer in some patients because of similar symptoms. These symptoms can mislead both patients and rarely physicians. In general, the possibility of rectal and colon cancer should be well investigated in the bleeding from the rectal region at the age of 40 and above.
  • It is not yet possible to prevent polyp formation. Those who have adopted a sedentary lifestyle, those who are overly stressed, those who smoke and drink alcohol, those who are obese and those who eat mainly red meat are at risk. However, eating pulp foods, not smoking, everything that regulates bowel movements is an important factor in preventing the formation of polyps.

Other Colon (Large Intestine Cancer) Risk Factors Age: Although it can occur at any age, it is mostly seen in people over the age of 50. Colon cancer risk increases with age. Patients over the age of 60 are 10 times more likely to develop colon and rectal cancers than those under 40. Intestinal Inflammation: There are mainly two types of intestinal inflammation. First one; Ulcerative colitis is an ulcer in the colon mucosa due to infection. The second is Crohn’s disease, which occurs with intermittent inflammation in any part of the digestive system from the mouth to the anus or in several different parts at the same time. Although it is a long-lasting and chronic disease, its treatment is possible. Because of the high risk of cancer, colorectal cancer screening tests should be performed more frequently. Nutrition: The prevalence of colon and rectum cancers is quite high especially in the USA and European countries where fast food consumption is common. Pulp-free food consumption increases constipation, causing stool to remain in the intestine for a long time and the cancer of that area. Delicatessen products, pickles, smoked meats, barbecue foods and fried foods are foods that cause constipation. In addition, it has been determined that consuming foods rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, chicken and grains reduces the risk rate. Obesity: Regardless of male or female, overweight increases the risk of colon cancer. Smoking: Many studies have stated that there is a relationship between smoking and colon cancer.

What Are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?

‘Colon (colon cancer) is the cause?’ The question can be answered as follows. The most common symptoms of colon cancer are continuous diarrhea and constipation, thinning of the stool that always comes at a normal thickness, blood coming from the anus and stool, and egg white-like secretion in the bowel movement. In cases where colon (large intestine) cancer progresses and obstructs the intestine, swelling and pain occur in the abdomen. It is important for those with such complaints to consult a doctor for early diagnosis.

  • The feeling that the intestines are not emptied sufficiently,
  • Difficulty defecation
  • Painful stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vomiting

Symptoms are also among the most important symptoms of colon cancer, also known as colon cancer. Colon cancer involving the right side of the intestine and colon cancer involving the left side may give different symptoms. Since the left side of the intestine is a narrower region, complaints such as thinning of the stool, bleeding, change in stool pattern are seen in the cancers of this region, while on the right side, since the intestine is wider, the cancer progresses insidiously here and it takes longer to show symptoms. The patient has symptoms such as weakness, anemia, anorexia and abdominal pain. Painful defecation, iron deficiency anemia, abdominal mass sensation are important symptoms for colon cancer. Being diagnosed with colon cancer before the disease progresses greatly increases the chance of life. Therefore, it is very important to follow the symptoms of colon cancer for early diagnosis.

Colon Cancer Diagnosis

Colon cancer is a type of cancer included in screening programs. Regular endoscopic examinations are the most effective way to prevent cancer or detect the disease at an early stage.


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Op. Dr. Akın Kocaoluk


Op. Dr. Akin Kocaoluk | Resume


He graduated from 19 Mayıs University Faculty of Medicine in 1998. He is currently continuing his active career in Turkish Red Crescent Altıntepe Medical Center.




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