Colorectal Cancer

CJ Richardson, Lindsay Nease, Leah Woldai

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is more commonly known as colon cancer. It affects the colon and/or the last several inches of the colon, the rectum. When someone is diagnosed with colon cancer, they have a tumor in their colon that is usually obstructing the waste from being excreted from the body. Because most cases of colon cancer begin with benign growths called polyps that are generally free of symptoms, doctors recommend getting screened annually past age 50 to identify polyps before they become colon cancer ("Colon Cancer").

What is the colon?

The colon is also called the large intestine. it works in the body to remove water, salt, and some nutrients forming stool. The walls of the colon are lined with muscles which squeeze the contents along. Billions of bacteria coat the colon and its contents, living in a healthy balance with the body. These are the good kind that help the human body.

Parts of the colon

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Symptoms

Colon cancer requires a medical diagnosis. Sometimes, no symptoms are shown, however some may experience changes in bowel habits, blood in stool, and abdominal pain ("Colon Cancer").

Stages Of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is separated into stages based on the severity of the tumor.


Stage 1: The tumor has either invaded the tissues inside the lining of the colon or the tumor is invading the muscle on the outside of the colon that moves waste along the track of the colon ("Colon Cancer Treatment By Stage").


Stage 2: The tumor has invaded the wall of the colon or rectum and has possibly reached the lining of the abdomen (""Colon Cancer Treatment By Stage").


Stage 3: The tumor has moved into the muscles inside the colon and has invaded one to three lymph nodes and/or a nodule (""Colon Cancer Treatment By Stage").


Stage 4: Here, the cancer has spread to another organ or multiple other organs in the body, also known as metastasis (""Colon Cancer Treatment By Stage").

Stages I-IV

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History of the disease

Colon cancer's hereditary link was first found by Aldred Scott Warthin in 1913 ("Who Discovered Colon Cancer?"). Since 2002, the amount of colon cancer cases have been decreasing in both men and women. Along with the amount of cases decreasing, the death rate for colon cancer has decreased in both genders ("Colorectal Cancer Trends.").

It's common- more than 200,000 cases yearly

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States ("What Are the Key Statistics about Colorectal Cancer?" ).
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People Most Affected And When To Get Screened

African Americans, males in particular, have a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Anyone above the age of 50 also has a higher risk of forming colon polyps, which is why Doctors recommend getting screened annually after age 50 to prevent formation of cancer from polyps. Those with a family history of colorectal cancer are suggested to get screened starting at age 45, or according to when their family members got it. Genetic syndromes passed through generations of your family can also increase your risk of colon cancer. These syndromes include familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, which is also known as Lynch syndrome ("Colon Cancer").

Genetic Link

The APC, MLH1, and MLH2 genes are affected in colon cancer. APC is located on chromosome 5, MLH1 on chromosome 3, and MLH2 on chromosome 2. The mutated version of the APC gene is usually shown in 1 in 7,000 to 1 in 22,000 births. MLH2 affects 70 to 80 percent of people who have the HNPCC mutation, and MLH1 affects 70 to 80 percent of people who have the HNPCC mutation (Genetics Home Reference).

External Causes of Colon Cancer

The main external causes of colon cancer are low-fiber and high-fat diets, being inactive, obesity, smoking, drinking alcohol, and radiation therapy ("Colon Cancer"). Maintaining an all-around healthy body reduces the risk of a cancer, but will not completely prevent developing colon cancer.

Treatment

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are the main treatments for colon cancer. Surgery is used usually during the early stages to remove affected areas. Chemotherapy is mainly used in more developed cancer. Radiation is utilized in cancers that are very developed, and radiation is often used in colorectal cancer as a way to treat the rectum that has cancerous growths ("Colon Cancer"). The average cost for any of these treatments can range anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000 ("Colon Cancer"). After treatment, the patient must go back every year to see if they are cancer free, or if the cancer has reoccurred. If enough of the colon and rectum is removed in a extensive surgery, such as a Total proctocolectomy or Total abdominal colectomy, an ileal pouch may be needed to release waste afterwards ("Surgery to Treat Colorectal Cancer").

Support groups in the US catered to those dealing with anything colorectal cancer related include the Colorectal Cancer Patient Support Group and The Colon Club, as well as multiple foundations that have support groups for colorectal cancer within them such as the American Cancer Society.

The survival rate for colon cancer by stage is 93% during stage one, 78% during stage two, 64% during stage three, and nearly 8% during stage four ("Colon Cancer Treatment By Stage").

Help Fund Research!

Research is always going on in the area of colorectal cancer. Scientists are in ongoing tests and research for things such as causes, how to prevent colorectal cancer, and ways to improve current treatments ("What`s New in Colorectal Cancer Research and Treatment?"). Any donations are help, and below we have listed organizations that we have done background research on and have knowledge that they are authentic research charities for colorectal cancers.

Funds for colorectal cancer is imperative to our society. As one of the leading cancers in America in all genders, our generation needs to eliminate it. With your help, we can fund research to wipe out colon cancer!

Reflection Questions

1) What are the three main treatments?

2) What genes are mutated when colon cancer is hereditary?

3) What is the colon also known as?

4) Where is the colon located?

5) Do certain races or gender have a higher risk? If so, which races or gender?

Wipe Out Cancer!

Thursday, Nov. 19th, 10:30am

1555 Old Peachtree Road Northwest

Suwanee, GA

Charity event to raise money for cancer awareness and research (Relay For Life). Held at PRHS by 9th grade SPIRE students.

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