Colon cancer is becoming a more common type of cancer nowadays around the world. The colon is the part of the large intestine which is located in the lower part of the abdomen; it is also the longest part of the large intestine. It functions to extract water, electrolytes and other nutrients from solid wastes before waste is moved into the rectum and out of the body. These functions are not easily carried out by the colon when it is affected with cancer.
Colon cancer is a type of cancer that starts when colon cells go out of control and excessively multiply to form a mass or a tumor. Small tumors are often benign and are called adenomatous polyps; they usually grow on the inner walls of the intestines. In some cases, these tumors often grow into malignant cancers over time of they are not removed during colonoscopy. Malignant tumors can cause many complications. The cancerous cells may travel through the bloodstream to the other parts of the body where they will invade healthy tissue and cause many complications. This is termed as metastasis and the prognosis is poor.
Colon cancer has many causes, one of which is the presence of polyps. Another is bad genes; colon cells can grow uncontrollably when there are damages and mutations in DNA. Damage to DNA occurs by virtue of a misunderstanding between oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, suicide genes and DNA repair genes. There is chaos between these genes so that the cells are unable to commit suicide and uncontrollable growth ensues.
Another risk factor for colon cancer is age. It is said that 90% of people who get diagnosed by colon cancer get diagnosed at the age of 50 or above. Other risk factors include being sedentary, being obese, tobacco smoking, diets which are high in fat and low in fiber and diets rich in red meat. Still other people get colon cancer when they have diabetes, acromegaly, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and radiation treatment for other cancers.
Symptoms of colon cancer include diarrhea, constipation, rectal bleeding, blood in the stools, changes in stool consistency, narrow stools, abdominal pain, pain during defecation, frequent urge to defecate, fatigue, weakness, irritable bowel syndrome, iron deficiency anemia and unexplained weight loss. There may be other signs and symptoms when there is metastasis or spread to other parts of the body.
Colon cancer is traditionally treated according to the types and stage of cancer as well as the health status, the age and the other characteristics of the patient. The most common treatments for colon cancers include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Though these are effective treatments, they are not without side effects. Thus the quest for natural remedies for colon cancer is on.
Grape Seed and Colon Cancer
Recent news has it that grape seed can help treat colon cancer. In this study done by researchers from the University of Adelaide, grape seed is said to aid in chemotherapy in killing colon cancer cells. The results of this study were published in the journal PLOS ONE. Researchers used commercially available grape seed extract produced by winemaking, and used it along with chemotherapy against colon cancer. According to the researchers, grape seed extract which contained tannins showed no side effects, significantly decreased damage to the intestines, decreased inflammation brought about by chemotherapy and inhibited the growth of cancer cells by 26% along with chemotherapy. Thus aside from its anti-cancer effects, grape seed extract may also reduce inflammation.
The researchers are hoping to disseminate this information to give hope to those afflicted with colon cancer. To know more about colon cancer, you can check our other articles on this site.