Smoking is responsible for a lot of diseases. However, the most common disease associated with smoking cigarettes is colon cancer. Smoking isn’t just a risk factor for this disease, it also increases the possibility of patients dying from it. It worsens the diagnosis, especially for colon cancer. This can be attributed to the constituents of cigarette. Cigarette does contain some substances that are carcinogenic.
The most popular of this carcinogens is benzopyrenes. According to studies, it has been suggested that these carcinogens cause alterations in the DNA over time. This changes in the body DNA eventually reduces the ability of the body to fight diseases, represses the immune system, and also reduce the ability of the body to repair damages. The good news about this connection between smoking and colon cancer is that the chances of developing this disease diminishes once the individual stops smoking. It’s important to know about colon cancer, and how smoking contributes to its developments
What Is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is a disease that affects the large intestine, in the gastrointestinal tract. A cancer is the abnormal proliferation and growth of cells that can move from where they originated to other parts of the body. Some of the signs and symptoms of this include hematochezia; which means blood in the feces, loss of weight, prolonged fatigue, and an alteration in the movement of the bowel. Colon cancer occurs mostly as a result of age, environmental factors, and age. Some of the factors that increase the chance of having disease include smoking, excess body weight, sedentary lifestyle. In addition, there are some food substances that could increase the chances of having this disease, some of these food materials include red meat such as beef, alcohol. There are also some diseases that could predispose people to colon cancer. Example of such diseases are the inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. The prognosis of this disease is good if diagnosed early. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy are treatments that can be used in managing this disease.
What Is The Correlation Between Smoking And Cancer?
Smoking is one of the most common and important risk factors that could cause colon cancer. Cigarette contains some carcinogens, that can induce the development of this disease. An example of a carcinogen present in cigarettes is Benzopyrene. These carcinogens do cause changes in the DNA, eventually reducing the body’s ability to repair defects, especially on the genetic level.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Colon Cancer?
The signs and symptoms of colon cancer largely depend on where a tumor is located, and if it has migrated to other parts of the body. However, the general symptoms of this disease include;
- An alteration in bowel movement: This may include diarrhea and constipation. It can also present as a change in the consistency of the stool.
- Cachexia: This can be described as weight loss that cannot be explained. Patients lose a significant amount of the body mass. This can be attributed to the high metabolism of the cancer cells.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome: This is a condition in which a person feels consistently tired for more than 6 months. Cancer cells grow without any control or regulation. Their fast proliferation demands a lot of energy and nutrients, thereby making use of the available nutrients and energy that is meant for the normal running of the body
- Gastrointestinal problems: Patients often present with abnormal disturbances such as pain, abdominal discomfort, and stomach gas.
- Hematochezia: This is a condition in which there is blood in the stool of the patient.
- Anemia: Anemia develops when there is protracted blood loss through hematochezia for a long time.
- Alterations in the consistency of the stool: The stool of patients usually changes in consistency. Apart from diarrhea that the patient might present with, the stool might also become very thick. This can be due to the changes in the bowel movement.
- Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting.
What Are The Causes Of Colon Cancer?
The most cases of colon cancer occur in people without any connection to genetics. Some of the risk factors for colon cancer are age and sex. According to statistics, colon cancer is more predominant among old aged people. Also, it has been observed that the disease occurs more in men. The consumption of food materials such as red meat, drinking of alcohol, excess weight, sedentary lifestyle, and inadequate or lack of physical exercise are also factors that could lead to the development of this disease. Some of the causes of colon cancer are;
Genetics: People who have relatives that are affected by colon cancer have a high chance of equally having the disease. According to studies, they have about two to threefold chances of being affected by the disease, as compared to other people. This group of people represents about twenty percent of all cases of colon cancer.
Inflammatory bowel disease: People affected by inflammatory bowel disease have a higher risk of having colon cancer. Inflammatory bowel diseases include Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. The risk of this diseases leading to colon cancer is largely dependent on how long the individual the people have been suffering from Inflammatory bowel disease. It has been observed that the longer a patient has IBD, the more chances the patient would eventually develop colon cancer
Smoking And Colon Cancer Risks
Some of the risk factors for colon cancer are;
- Old age: Although colon cancer can affect people of all age groups, it’s more predominant in people over the age of fifty.
- Lifestyle: People who do not engage in physical exercises have more chances of having colon cancer
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
Even though smoking is one of the most common causes of colon cancer, the chances of developing the disease diminish when one stops smoking.
Treatments of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer can be treated with radiotherapy, and chemotherapy and surgery. The treatment procedure for this disease depends on the stage of the disease. Doctors mostly suggest a minimally invasive surgery if a tumor is small.
Brand, R. (2006). Risk of colon cancer in hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer patients as predicted by fuzzy modeling: Influence of smoking. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 12(28), p.4485.
Buc, E., Kwiatkowski, F., Alves, A., Panis, Y., Mantion, G. and Slim, K. (2006). Tobacco Smoking: A Factor of Early Onset of Colorectal Cancer. Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, 49(12), pp.1893-1896.
Smoking, Inflammation, and Colon Cancer. (2004). The Nurse Practitioner, 29(8), p.55.
Voronov, E. and Apte, R. (2015). IL-1 in Colon Inflammation, Colon Carcinogenesis and Invasiveness of Colon Cancer. Cancer Microenvironment, 8(3), pp.187-200.