Cancer of the Colon (Colon Cancer) (Colorectal Cancer)
Colon cancer is a malignancy that arises from the inner lining of the colon. Most, perhaps all, of these cancers develop from colon polyps. Removal of these precancerous polyps can prevent colon cancer. Colon polyps and early colon cancers cause no signs or symptoms. Full-blown colon cancer can cause occult (a microscopic amount of) blood in the stool, overt rectal bleeding, bowel obstruction, and weight loss. Risk factors for colon cancer include a family history or the presence of of colonic polyps, and also long standing ulcerative colitis. First-degree relatives of people with CRC are themselves at a 2 to 3-fold increased risk of colorectal cancer. (Parents, brothers and sisters, and children are first-degree relatives.) When the family history includes 2 or more relatives with CRC, the possibility of an inherited CRC syndrome is increased. The overall risk can be reduced by following a diet low in fat and high in fiber. Colon cancer is preventable and curable. It is preventable by removing the precancerous colon polyps. It is curable if detected early when it can be surgically removed before it has spread to other parts of the body. If screening and surveillance programs were practiced universally, there would be a tremendous reduction in the incidence and mortality of colon cancer. Butyric acid (butyrate) is a powerful source of energy for the colon and it is believed to help prevent colon cancer if taken on a regular basis.