Is a cure for colorectal cancer on the horizon?

Cancer affects 1 in 3 people in the USA. It is a high possibility that you may know someone going through it. Colorectal cancer is a condition in which the cells of the colon or rectum grow out of control. These are also known as colon cancer or rectum cancer.

The rectum is the canal that links the colon to the anus, while the colon is the big bowel or large intestine.

How does colorectal cancer start? (H2)

Most colon cancers start as a tumour on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These growths are known as polyps.

Some types of polyps can convert into cancer during a course of time but not all become cancer. The chances of polyps converting into cancer depend on the type of polyps.

Let’s take a closer look at the several types of polyps that might cause cancer:

ADENOMATOUS POLYPS: 

A small group of cells formed on the lining of the colon or rectum. Most are harmless, but some can turn into cancer. Colon polyps often do not have any intense symptoms, and it is required to have a colonoscopy to ensure that polyps are identified and removed. There are three types of Adenomatous, namely Tubulour, villous and tubulovillous.

HYPERPLASTIC POLYPS AND INFLAMMATORY POLYPS: 

Although these polyps are more common, they are usually not malignant. Colorectal cancer screening with a colonoscopy may be necessary more often in people with large hyperplastic polyps (greater than 1cm).

TRADITIONAL SERRATED ADENOMAS (TSA) AND SESSILE SERRATED POLYPS (SSP):

These polyps are typically treated like adenomas because they have a higher risk of colon cancer.

Other conditions that may raise the risk of polyps becoming cancerous:

  • If a polyp which is 1cm or more significant than that is found can be a solid sign of conversion into cancer.
  • If three or more polyps are found in the body, this can lead to cancer.
  • Suppose the polyp has dysplasia after the removal. Another precancerous condition is dysplasia. It means that the cells of a polyp or the lining of the colon or rectum are aberrant but not malignant.

Cancers of the colon and rectum include:

The most frequent kind of colorectal cancer is adenocarcinoma. These tumours begin in the cells that produce mucus to lubricate the colon and rectum. This is virtually often the sort of colorectal cancer that clinicians refer to when they talk about colorectal cancer.

Tumours that originate in the colon and rectum are substantially less prevalent. These are some of them:

Carcinoid tumour: 

Carcinoid tumours are most commonly seen in the stomach, appendix, small intestine, colon, rectum, or lungs.

Symptoms are usually vague and don’t appear until late in the disease. Two examples include diarrhoea and skin flushing.

Gastrointestinal stromal tumour: 

It is a disease where abnormal cells form in the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract. Genetic factors can raise the chance of a gastrointestinal stromal tumour. GI stromal tumours are identified by blood in the stool or vomit.

Lymphomas: 

The body’s disease-fighting system is the lymphatic system. The lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and bone marrow are part of it. Lymphoma has two types: non- Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes, fatigue, and weight loss.

Treatment options include chemotherapy, medication, radiation therapy, and, in rare situations, stem-cell transplantation.

Sarcomas:

It’s cancer that starts in the body’s bones or soft tissues. Cartilage, fat, blood vessels, muscle, and other elements such as bones and soft tissues may be included.

What is the leading cause of colon cancer?

Doctors are not sure what causes this cancer, but some reasons can lead to colon cancer.

The following factors may raise your risk of colon cancer:

Old age: Colon cancer can attack anybody at any age, although it is more common in people over 50. Colon cancer rates have been growing in those under 50, but doctors aren’t sure why.

Genetic: If any of your family members have had colon cancer in the past, you are incredibly likely to have the disease. If one family member has had more than one, the condition will run in the family.

Low fibre and high-fat diet: The average western diet, which is poor in fibre and heavy in fat, may cause this malignancy. According to several studies, persons who consume a lot of red and processed meat have a higher risk of colon cancer.

Radiation therapy for cancer: radiation therapy due to any previous cancer-directed to the abdomen can increase the risk of colon cancer.

Is colorectal cancer curable?

Patients with locally advanced Colorectal cancer show remarkable responses to treatment with dostarlimab (Jemperli). So far, the study has involved only 12 patients, but they all have had a complete clinical response. They continue to show no signs of cancer during follow-ups ranging from 6 to 25 months. The results were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2022 annual meeting and in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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