Beware of Colon Cancer!

Are you suffering from fatigue, unexplained weight loss, rectal bleeding or blood in the stool? Well, it could certainly be signs of something serious like Colon Cancer. Colon cancer is caused when tumor like polyps growth and develop in the large intestine. It usually starts with polyps in the wall of the intestine and symptoms may not appear until a later stage, but if they do, gastrointestinal problems are the common ones. It may sometimes also be referred to as colorectal cancer. It is preventable and highly curable if detected in early stages.

Symptoms and signs

There are often no symptoms in the earliest stages, but symptoms may develop as the cancer advances.

  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Change in stool consistency
  • Loose and narrow stools
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
  • Abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, or gas
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Continual urges to defecate
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • iron deficiency (anemia)

Risk factors for Colon Cancer

Following are the factors that may increase your risk of colon cancer:

  • Older age. Colon cancer generally affects people older than 50 years of age. Incidences of colon cancer in people less than 50 years of age have been increasing, but doctors aren’t sure why.
  • African-American race. Colon cancer is more prevalent among African American than people of other races.
  • History of colorectal cancer or polyps. People who had colon cancer or noncancerous colon polyps, have a greater risk of developing colon cancer.
  • Inflammatory intestinal conditions. Chronic inflammatory diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, can increase your risk of colon cancer.
  • Inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk. Colon cancers can sometimes be linked to inherited genes. Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome, are known to be hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). You are more likely to develop colon cancer if you have a blood relative who has had the disease.
  • Low-fiber, high-fat diet. Such Cancers are mostly associated with a typical Western diet, which is low in fiber and high in fat and calories. Studies also show people who eat red meat and processed meat have an increased risk of colon cancer.
  • A sedentary lifestyle. Inactive people are more likely to develop colon cancer than who are active.
  • Diabetes. People with diabetes have an increased risk of colon cancer.
  • Obesity. Obesity also increases the risk of Colon Cancer.
  • Smoking. Smoking may increase the risk of colon cancer.
  • Alcohol. Consuming alcohol increases your risk of colon cancer.
  • Radiation therapy for cancer. Radiation therapy to treat other cancers increases the risk of colon cancer.

Treatment

Treatment of Colon Cancer will depend on the type, stage of the cancer, age, health status, and other factors.

Colon cancer can be treated in a number of ways. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are the most common ways of treatment here.

Prevention of Colon Cancer

Screening colon cancer

Screening for Colon Cancer should be done at around the age of 50 years. But those with a family history of colon cancer should consider screening sooner than later.

Lifestyle changes to be made to cut down your risk of colon cancer

By making these simple changes in your everyday life the risks of Colon Cancer can be reduced to a great level.

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may help to reduce the risk of Colon Cancer.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. By limiting the quantity of drink to one drink a day for women and two for men the risk can be reduced.
  • Stop smoking. Quitting smoking helps to reduce the risk of Colon Cancer
  • Exercise most days of the week. 30 minutes of exercise after a chat with your doctor may also help to cut down the risks of such cancers.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight, having a proper meal can help one to live healthy and reduce the chances of Cancer.