Colorectal cancer, better known as colon cancer, usually happens when there is an abnormal growth of the colon cells. Usually, it might start as a polyp within your rectum or colon. With time, the abnormally growing cells might become cancerous, spreading considerably to other body parts.
Types of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer usually develops in the colon and sometimes in the rectum. If the cancerous cell commences in the rectum, it is known as rectal cancer. So regardless of where they start, there are many common things. Thus, they are together called colorectal cancer.
The type of cancer a patient has can only be determined after a colon cancer diagnosis. Some types of colon cancer include:
The most common type of colon cancer typically grows in the epithelial cells. It typically starts with the inner lining and eventually spreads across other areas.
Primary Colorectal Lymphomas
It generally develops in the lymphocyte cells of the lymphatic system. Lymphoma might typically develop in numerous body parts, including the spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow, etc.
Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors
They usually develop in the nerve cells, better known as neuroendocrine cells. Carcinoid tumor is typically slow-growing and might develop and affect the gastrointestinal tract or the lungs.
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
This rare colon cancer usually forms in special cells known as interstitial cells of Cajal or ICCs. They are typically found in the gastrointestinal lining.
Colon and Rectal Melanomas
It is commonly associated with skin cancer, which typically develops in the digestive system.
Colon and Rectal Leiomyosarcomas
It essentially means “cancer of smooth muscle,” where the muscles of the rectum and colon are typically affected.
Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)
FAP is an extremely rare type of colon cancer, where patients are likely to develop hundreds and thousands of polyps. And as a preventive measure, patients usually have their colon removed.
Colorectal Squamous Cell Carcinoma
It is also a sporadic colon cancer typically associated with skin cancer. Here, the squamous cells tend to grow uncontrollably, thus becoming cancerous.
Usually, a digital rectal exam or colonoscopy is performed for colon cancer diagnosis. Sometimes a sigmoidoscopy or biopsy is also used to determine cancerous cells within the colon.