The UK is heading for a 50% increase in the number of new colon cancer cases over the next 30 years, says an international team of scientists.
The forecast, in the European Journal of Cancer, is for 35,000 new cases a year by 2040, compared with 23,000 now.
Rising obesity is one reason – and if the UK reached US levels that could add another 2,000 to the total, they say.
Another reason which can lead to an increase in the number of colon cancer cases being reported in the UK is obesity. With declining fitness levels and an increased intake of diet in people in the UK is pushing themselves towards danger.
The study further informed that increasing physical fitness and regular exercise would bring down the number of cases being reported drastically, taking an example of Netherlands, one of the fittest countries in Europe.
There were statistics from seven countries which were used in the study, Netherlands being one of them. According to researchers the two biggest causes for the fatal cancer are the lack of exercise and having excess weight. Thus, regular exercise can go a long way in preventing this disease.
Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer or large bowel cancer, includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. With 655,000 deaths worldwide per year, it is the fourth most common form of cancer in the United States and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world. Colorectal cancers arise from adenomatous polyps in the colon. These mushroom-shaped growths are usually benign, but some develop into cancer over time. Localized colon cancer is usually diagnosed through colonoscopy.
Invasive cancers that are confined within the wall of the colon (TNM stages I and II) are curable with surgery. If untreated, they spread to regional lymph nodes (stage III), where up to 73% are curable by surgery and chemotherapy. Cancer that metastasizes to distant sites (stage IV) is usually not curable, although chemotherapy can extend survival, and in rare cases, surgery and chemotherapy together have seen patients through to a cure. Radiation is used with rectal cancer.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms of colorectal cancer depend on the location of tumor in the bowel, and whether it has spread elsewhere in the body (metastasis). Most of the symptoms may occur in other diseases as well, and hence none of the symptoms mentioned here is diagnostic of colorectal cancer. Symptoms and signs are divided into local, constitutional (affecting the whole body) and metastatic (caused by spread to other organs).
Local symptoms are more likely if the tumor is located closer to the anus. There may be a change in bowel habit (new-onset constipation or diarrhea in the absence of another cause), and a feeling of incomplete defecation (rectal tenesmus) and reduction in diameter of stool; tenesmus and change in stool shape are both characteristic of rectal cancer. Lower gastrointestinal bleeding, including the passage of bright red blood in the stool, may indicate colorectal cancer, as may the increased presence of mucus. Melena, black stool with a tarry appearance, normally occurs in upper gastrointestinal bleeding (such as from a duodenal ulcer), but is sometimes encountered in colorectal cancer when the disease is located in the beginning of the large bowel.
A tumor that is large enough to fill the entire lumen of the bowel may cause bowel obstruction. This situation is characterized by constipation, abdominal pain, abdominal distension and vomiting. This occasionally leads to the obstructed and distended bowel perforating and causing peritonitis.
Certain local effects of colorectal cancer occur when the disease has become more advanced. A large tumor is more likely to be noticed on feeling the abdomen, and it may be noticed by a doctor on physical examination. The disease may invade other organs, and may cause blood or air in the urine (invasion of the bladder) or vaginal discharge (invasion of the female reproductive tract).
If a tumor has caused chronic occult bleeding, iron deficiency anemia may occur; this may be experienced as fatigue, palpitations and noticed as pallor (pale appearance of the skin). Colorectal cancer may also lead to weight loss, generally due to a decreased appetite.
More unusual constitutional symptoms are an unexplained fever and one of several paraneoplastic syndromes. The most common paraneoplastic syndrome is thrombosis, usually deep vein thrombosis.
Colorectal cancer most commonly spreads to the liver. This may go unnoticed, but large deposits in the liver may cause jaundice and abdominal pain (due to stretching of the capsule). If the tumor deposit obstructs the bile duct, the jaundice may be accompanied by other features of biliary obstruction, such as pale stools.