Colorectal cancer, or as it is more commonly known colon cancer, is a type of cancer that occurs in the colon and/or the rectum. The colon is part of the large intestine and the rectum is the part that connects the colon to the anus. They are both very important parts in the ending process of digestion. Most colon cancer starts off as a colon polyp, which are abnormal growths that turn into colon cancer over time if not detected early on. No one knows what exactly causes colorectal cancer, except that is it due to errors in DNA and people with Lynch Syndrome, Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), or other inherited gene mutations are at a higher risk of getting it.
Global Statistics on Colorectal Cancer
Why is Colorectal Cancer More Common in the Developed World?
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, only behind breast and lung cancer. The five countries with the highest rates of colorectal cancer, in order from third to first are Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Slovakia and South Korea. Mortality is lower for colorectal cancer and death from it is more common in undeveloped regions of the world. The reason that colorectal cancer is more common in the developed world has to do with age. The older people get the more common colorectal cancer becomes. The vast majority of people, around 90%, are diagnosed with colorectal cancer after age fifty. So colorectal cancer is more common in developed countries since the average lifespan in developed countries is much longer and most people live to be over fifty. Therefore, people in developed countries have a higher chance of living long enough to get colorectal cancer then people in undeveloped countries.
Prevention and Treatment of Colorectal Cancer
Some of the things that can be done to prevent colorectal cancer are to get a colonoscopy every year, especially after turning fifty since that is when the risk for colorectal cancer starts to rise. It is also wise to watch out for any possible symptoms and talk to your doctor about them. Another step to prevent colorectal cancer is to quit smoking. Treatment of colorectal cancer varies depending on what stage the cancer is in. All states of the cancer, from stage zero to stage four require surgery to be performed. For anything stage two colorectal cancer or worse chemotherapy or biologics will need to be performed as well as radiation treatment. In stage four colorectal cancer, interventional radiology may need to be preformed.