Colon, or colorectal, cancer is cancer that starts in the large intestine (colon) orthe rectum (end of the colon).

Other types of cancer can affect the colon. These include lymphoma, carcinoid tumors, melanoma, and sarcomas. These are rare. In this article, colon cancer refers to colon carcinoma only

CAUSES

Almost all colon cancers start in glands in the lining of the colon and rectum. When doctors talk about colorectal cancer, this is usually what they are talking about.

There is no single definite cause of colon cancer. Nearly all colon cancers begin as noncancerous (benign) polyps, which slowly develop into cancer.

You have a high risk of colon cancer if you:

  • Are older than 60
  • Are African American of eastern European descent
  • Eat a a lot of red or processed meats
  • Have colorectal polyps
  • Have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Have a family history of colon cancer
  • Have a personal history of breast cancer Certain inherited diseases also increase the risk of developing colon cancer. Two of the most common are:
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome

What you eat may play a role in your risk of colon cancer. Colon cancer may high-fat, low-fiber diet and to a high intake of red meat. Some studies, though, have found that the risk does not drop if you switch to a high-fiber diet, so this link is not yet clear.

Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are other risk factors for colorectal cancer.

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