Colon cancer is a form of cancer that begins in the colon, where the cells grow at an uncontrolled and bizarre rate. This malignant or cancerous cells will invade and destroy healthy tissue in the large intestines causing many complications. (1)
In most cases, colon cancers develop from small benign (noncancerous) tumors known as adenomatous polyps that turn cancerous over time if left untreated. These polyps occur in the inner lining of the colon. Furthermore, surgeons remove them through the procedure colonoscopy.
If the malignant cells break from the large intestines, they spread by invading the blood circulatory and lymphatic systems in a process referred to as metastasis. Malignant colon cancer is more serious than primary colon cancer since the cancer cells spread throughout the body. Additionally, it damages all healthy tissues in the body making it difficult to eradicate.
Although similar, colon and rectal cancers are commonly known as colorectal cancer differ in that rectum cancer begins in the rectum cells. The rectum is the final section of the large intestine and is closer to the anus.
Types Of Colon Cancer
These are the most common types of colon cancer that account for close to 95 percent of all large bowel cancers. They typically develop from a benign tumor on the surface of the colon’s inner wall in cells that produce the mucus that lubricates the inner wall of the colon. (2)
If surgeons miss the adenoma, it could result in a growth of malignant cells. As a result, the bigger the size of the adenomatous polyps, the higher the chances of dysplasia (abnormal cell growth) making it possible for them to become cancerous. Finally, there are two subtypes of adenocarcinomas colon cancer, signet ring cells of the colon and mucinous tumors.
Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma
This type of adenocarcinoma cancer is very rare and makes up just one percent of all colon cancer cases. Its prognosis is poor because symptoms of cancer often manifest very late; thus, diagnosis only occurs in the disease’s later stages. Lastly, young adults are the most susceptible to this disease. (3)
Mucinous Colon Cancer
Mucin is a substance produced by the colon for lubrication. Colloid or mucinous cancer are a type of colon cancers occurs due to the overproduction of mucin. A distinct form of colon and rectal cancer, mucinous cancers are more prevalent in females than in males and account for between 10-20 percent of all colon cancers.
Other less common cancer types can affect the colon such as the gastrointestinal tumors that affect the cells that produce hormones. Furthermore, they are part of a group of tumors known as neuroendocrine. Lastly, these tumors tend to develop slowly and go unnoticed for many years by the afflicted people.