Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
The human colon is a muscular, tube-shaped organ
measuring about 4 feet long. It extends from the end of your small bowel to your
anus, twisting and turning through your abdomen (belly). The colon has 3 main functions.
To digest and absorb nutrients from food
To concentrate fecal material by absorbing fluid (and
electrolytes) from it
To store and control evacuation of fecal material
The right side of your colon plays a major role in
absorbing water and electrolytes, while the left side is responsible for storage
and evacuation of stool.
Cancer is the transformation of normal cells. The transformed cells grow and multiply abnormally.
Left untreated, these cancers grow and eventually
spread through the colon wall to involve the adjacent lymph nodes and organs.
Ultimately, they spread to distant organs such as the liver, lungs, brain, and bones.
Cancers are dangerous because of their unbridled
growth. They overwhelm healthy cells, tissues, and organs by taking their
oxygen, nutrients, and space.
Most colon cancers are adenocarcinomas-tumors that develop from the glands lining the colon's inner wall.
These tumors are sometimes referred to as colorectal
cancer, reflecting the fact that the rectum, the end portion of the colon, can also be affected.
In the United States, 1 in 17 people will develop colorectal cancer.
Colorectal canceris the second most common cancer in US women of Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Asian/Pacific Islander ancestry, and the third most common cancer in white and African American women.
The overall incidence of colorectal cancer increased until 1985 and then began decreasing at an average rate of 1.6% per year.
There has been much excitement during the past decade because of the
identification of defective genes (mutations) associated with
in families where colon cancer is common. When a defective gene can be
identified, it is possible to examine other members of the family to see if they
also carry the defective gene. Those individuals who carry the defective gene
are at a very high risk (75%-100%) for developing colon cancer. The reason for
the excitement is that if an individual is found to have the defective gene, his
or her colon can be removed before the cancer occurs.
Only 5% of all colon cancers occur in families with a history of colon cancer
and identifiable genetic defects...