Learn More About Colorectal Cancer for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Colorectal cancer is the cancer of the colon and rectum. It is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States in men and women combined. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women. In 2021 alone, it is projected that 149,500 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. It is also projected that 52,980 people will die from the disease. The average age for diagnosis of rectal cancer for men and women combined is 63, while the average age for men diagnosed with colon cancer is 68 and the average age for diagnosis in women is 72.
There are certain risk factors for colon cancer that can be controlled or uncontrolled. People with a higher weight for instance can end up developing colorectal cancer and die from it. Weight can affect both men and women, but it is more likely to cause colorectal cancer in men. Sedentary behavior and diet can also lead to the cancer. Diets especially high in red meat, processed meat, and meat cooked at high temperatures increases the risk of cancer. Asbestos exposure is also a cause of colorectal cancer. The microscopic fibers can be ingested and can travel to the colon or rectum, leading to cells changing into cancer.
There are also risk factors that cannot be changed. People with a history of colorectal polyps and people who have had colorectal cancer in the past are at a higher risk. People with certain inflammatory bowel diseases (not irritable bowel syndrome) like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease are also more likely to develop colorectal cancer. People with a family history can also develop the cancer, but colorectal cancer is mostly diagnosed in people without a family history. One third of people diagnosed had a history of colorectal cancer in their family.
Cancer is a result of changes in DNA inside cells. Certain gene mutations can be inherited from family members, with a portion of colorectal cancers being a result of these mutations. Changes in the APC gene, which is a tumor suppressor gene, can lead to familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), attenuated FAP (AFAP), and Gardner Syndrome. Hundreds of polyps grow in the colon because of the these illnesses and over time, they can turn into cancer. Damages to DNA repair genes like MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, and EPCAM can lead to Lynch Syndrome which is another cause of colorectal cancer. Inherited changes to the STK11 gene, which is a tumor suppressing gene, can also lead to a colorectal cancer-causing illness called Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. MUTYH-associated polyposis can also lead to colorectal cancer. It is caused by a mutation in the MUTYH gene, which checks DNA and fixes errors when cells divide.
Were you diagnosed with colorectal cancer? You could be entitled to compensation. Asbestos causes several cancers including colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. If you were exposed to asbestos and have one of these cancers, contact us today by calling 412-471-3980 or by filling out our contact form to see what our attorneys can do for you!
“Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors” American Cancer Society [Link]
“Know the Facts” Colorectal Cancer Alliance [Link]
“What Causes Colorectal Cancer?” American Cancer Society [Link]
“What is Colorectal Cancer?” Colorectal Cancer Alliance [Link]