… Continued …
Again, colorectal cancers (including colon cancer) usually develop and grow slowly, starting as a small benign growth called a ‘polyp’.
Over time, polyps grow larger or even may become altered. Typically, the process of a polyp transforming and becoming cancer takes several years.
In other words, at first polyp is not-cancerous growth. But as the age, it may turn into cancer.
Actually, polyps in the bowel are pretty common. About 25 percent (1 in 4) of us can have at least one polyp as we age (especially by age 50).
The chance of having polyps increases with age. Even 50 percent of us will have polyp by age 70. The good news, many times these polyps doesn’t turn into cancer.
Although most of polyps have small fraction to develop into cancer, but experts believe that removing them through surgery is the effective way to prevent bowel cancer. This is particularly true for polyps that grow aggressively or have high risk to become cancer!
Cancer in the bowel is usually slow to grow. Even the good news, most of cases are curable if detected and treated early! However, there are some that can grow aggressively, too!
As well as the stages of cancer, another parameter called ‘grading’ is usually used to analyze how fast and aggressive it is!
These grades include:
- High grade (grade 3)! In this grade, the cancerous cells look very abnormal (they are poorly differentiated) – if compared to normal cells.
- Moderate (grade 2). The cancerous cells look abnormal (moderately differentiated).
- Low grade (grade 1). The cancerous cells look pretty similar to normal cells (well differentiated).
Higher grade means the greater risk for the cancer to become more aggressively. On the other hand, lower grade means it tends to be slower growing and lower risk of becoming aggressive.
Overall, this grading is essential to help doctor analyze how the colon cancer is likely to behave!