Be Informed: Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer by Robert Ripley, MD. 25May

Colon cancer strikes males and females equally.  Around the world it is more frequent in industrialized countries, and this suggests genetic and environmental influences.  In the United States it affects blacks and whites equally, but Native Americans have a much lower occurrence rate.

Among environmental factors, diet has been implicated frequently.  It is felt that a high fiber diet, which speeds up the transit time through the colon, minimizes the contact time of dietary carcinogens to the colonic mucosa.  This would then decrease the chances of developing colon cancer.

Genetics is closely related to colon cancer, and was first demonstrated in familial adenomatous polyposis.  This condition accounts for less than 1% of colon cancer.  It is linked to the APC gene which is located on the long arm of chromosome 5.  HNPCC (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer) or Lynch Syndrome I is another genetic linked cause of colorectal cancer.  Typically three or more family members will have had colon cancer, with one being diagnosed before the age of fifty.

Currently, there is no effective prevention for colon cancer, but periodic screening can find precancerous lesions and remove them before they become a cancer.  It is recommended that when you reach the age of fifty, you have a screening colonoscopy.  Colonoscopy is a procedure using a flexible telescope to look at the inside of the rectum and colon.  Additionally, your doctor can perform a yearly check of your stool for occult blood by doing a rectal exam.  If you have a family history of early colon cancer (diagnosed before the age of fifty), than colonoscopy would be recommended before you reach the age of fifty.  Be sure to let your family physician know about your family history so he or she can advise you when to start your screening.

The treatment for colon cancer is anatomical resection.  After the removed portion of the colon has been examined by the pathologist, the cancer can be staged, and further treatment with chemotherapy may be recommended.

Questions about Your Colon Health?

Contact  Dr. Robert Ripley: 928-668-5506

Primary Care

Community Hospital Clinics are located in Wickenburg, Wittmann, and Congress. We sincerely follow our mission to provide quality health and wellness services where the patient, family, and community come first.

Read More

Emergency Care

Our 8 bed Emergency Room department is fully staffed with emergency physicians, nurses, and ER specialists. Your wait time is typically measured in minutes not hours as in the larger metropolitan hospitals.

Read More

Surgical Services

Wickenburg Community Hospital provides a wide variety of surgical care and treatment. We serve a vibrant and active community who favors quality health care close to home.

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest