Recognising colorectal cancer

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society is observing March as Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Awareness Month.

Cancer is a broad term used to
describe a large group of diseases of the cells that can affect any part of the
body.

The body is made up of millions of
living cells, each with their own job descriptions – skins cells, brain cells,
hair cells, etc.  Normal cells grow, divide and die in an orderly way.
Cancer occurs when cells in a part of the body start to grow out of control.

Although there are many different
types of cancer, they all share this characteristic of out of control growth.

The term ‘colorectal’ refers to the
lower end of our digestive system, made up of the colon and rectum.  The
job of the colon and rectum is to remove solid waste (faecal matter or stool)
from the body.

Colorectal cancer takes place when
cells in the colon and rectum begin to grow in the disorderly fashion discussed
above. These cancers are sometimes referred to singly as colon cancer or rectal
cancer, depending on where they start.  

Colorectal Cancer Facts:

It is the fourth most common cancer
diagnosed in both men and women worldwide.

Colorectal cancer is the third
leading cause of cancer death worldwide.

According to the World Health
Organisation, 639,000 deaths occur yearly from colorectal.

Colorectal cancers usually develop
slowly over many years.

Most of these cancers begin as a
polyp (a growth of tissue) which starts in the lining and grows into the centre
of the colon or rectum.

This tissue may or may not be
cancer, but finding and removing a polyp early may keep it from becoming
malignant (cancerous) over a period of time.

To promote awareness in the Cayman
Islands, the Cancer Society is available for cancer awareness presentations to
different companies and their employees. We are also available to visit
schools, clubs and churches delivering our cancer awareness presentations free
of charge.

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society
is a non-profit organisation dedicated to preventing the development of cancer
through its education programmes and screening initiatives as well as to
providing financial assistance to cancer patients and their families with
treatment related expenses.

The society also offers counselling
and support to cancer patients and their families. It funds its programmes
through donations and fund-raising events. For more information on the Society call
949-7618 or email [email protected].

Next
week: Risk Factors and Signs & Symptoms of colorectal cancer

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