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What Is a Colorectal Neoplasm?

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  • Written By: M. West
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A colorectal neoplasm is cancer of the colon, otherwise known as the large intestine, or cancer of the rectum, which refers to the last few inches of the colon. Most cases originate as a small benign tumor called an adenomatous polyp, which develops into a malignant tumor over a period of time. Because polyps, which are sometimes precursors of cancer, are small and asymptomatic, doctors advise screening procedures to identify and remove them before they present a problem. Although colorectal neoplasm has widespread prevalence, it has a good prognosis if it is detected early and can be treated with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. As this is a serious disease, it is good to be familiar with the symptoms, risk factors, and measures that can be taken to prevent its occurrence.

Being aware of the symptoms of a colorectal neoplasm can alert someone to consult his or her doctor when the signs manifest. Signs include a difference in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea, or also an alteration in the consistency of the stools that the patient experiences longer than two weeks. Other symptoms of this malignancy include rectal bleeding, persistent abdominal discomfort, and an impression that the bowels are not emptying completely, as well as weakness, tiredness, and weight loss.

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Risk factors of colorectal neoplasm are another area with which to be familiar, as people at higher risk need to be extra careful in getting regular screenings. People considered at greater risk include adults over the age of 50, African-Americans, and those with inflammatory intestinal disorders, as well as those who have diabetes or obesity. Either a personal or a family history of colon cancer or polyps can raise the risk, in addition to the presence of Lynch syndrome, which is a genetic condition that predisposes a person to this disease. Certain lifestyle characteristics can also influence risk, such as being sedentary, smoking, and heavy alcohol use, as well as consumption of a low-fiber, high-fat diet.

Preventive measures for colorectal neoplasm include lifestyle practices and regular screenings, as well as other options for those considered at high risk. Incorporating a wide selection of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products into the diet can help, as these foods contain nutrients and fiber, which reduce the risk of developing this cancer. Other lifestyle measures include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and abstaining from smoking, as well as limiting alcohol intake to a very small amount per day. Screenings include tests, such as annual fecal occult blood, flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years, and a colonoscopy every 10 years. Surgery and some classes of medications are available for those who are at high risk of developing a colorectal neoplasm.

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