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Cancer that forms in the tissues of the colon (the longest part of the large intestine). Most colon cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids).
Squamous cells are the skin like cells that make up the bowel lining, together with the gland cells. This type of bowel cancer is rare.
Also known as colonic NETs, these are rare and can cause symptoms such as altered bowel habit (e.g. diarrhoea and/or constipation), stomach or abdominal pain, weight loss and bleeding - similar to symptoms of the more common bowel cancer.
For more information on large bowel NETs, click here for a fact sheet by the NET patient foundation (UK).
The colon is part of the body’s digestive system. The digestive system removes and processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body. The digestive system is made up of the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines. The first 6 feet of the large intestine are called the large bowel or colon. The last 6 inches are the rectum and the anal canal. The anal canal ends at the anus (the opening of the large intestine to the outside of the body).
Anatomy of the lower digestive system, showing the colon and other organs.
Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors include the following:
Polyps in the colon. Some polyps have a stalk and others do not. Inset shows a photo of a polyp with a stalk.
These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by colon cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
The following tests and procedures may be used:
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) kit to check for blood in stool.
Barium enema procedure. The patient lies on an x-ray table. Barium liquid is put into the rectum and flows through the colon. X-rays are taken to look for abnormal areas.
Sigmoidoscopy. A thin, lighted tube is inserted through the anus and rectum and into the lower part of the colon to look for abnormal areas.
Colonoscopy. A thin, lighted tube is inserted through the anus and rectum and into the colon to look for abnormal areas.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
The prognosis also depends on the blood levels of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) before treatment begins. CEA is a substance in the blood that may be increased when cancer is present.
For more information on Colon and Rectal Cancer click here
This link is to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer website in the United States. There may be references to drugs and clinical trials that are not available here in Australia.
Information has also been sourced from cancerresearchuk.org
For information courtesy of Cancer Australia, please click here
Page last updated: 07/05/2020