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Colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer normally affects the large intestines or colon. The cancerous cells start as benign infection before turning into full-blown cancer. Colon cancer is common among older adults, even though it can affect people of all ages.
According to a report by the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University in St. Louis, about 140,000 people across the USA are diagnosed with colorectal cancer annually. This makes colorectal cancer the third most prevalent type of cancer in the country.
The common signs and symptoms of the disease include:
The changes in bowel movement include inconsistencies in stool, interspersed with bouts of diarrhea and constipation. Common treatment for colon cancer include use of cancer drugs, surgery and radiation therapy. The drug treatment regimen often includes chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy. In spite of the grave colon cancer statistics, 70% of all cases can be prevented. According to the American Cancer Center (ACS), here are 6 things you can do to reduce or prevent the chances of developing colon cancer:
Screening for colon cancer is highly recommended as it can help reveal underlying signs and symptoms of the disease before it can spread. Colon cancer often develops from polyps, a group of small cells found in the rectum or colon. If left unattended, the polyps can advance into colorectal cancer. Remember, early treatment and removal of polyps can eliminate the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer. The recommended age for colon cancer screening is age 45, according to the American Cancer Society. If your family has a history of colon cancer and other related risks, you are advised to seek screening at a much earlier age.
If a medical examination reveals the presence of polyps or anything suspicious, the doctor may recommend colonoscopy procedure as part of preventative care, diagnosis or treatment. Using the video images relayed by the tiny colonoscope, the doctor is well-able to view the entire colon lining before making qualified statements. The other tests that can be conducted to establish presence of colon cancer include virtual colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) and double-contrast barium enema. You can always talk to your doctor to learn more about the cancer tests, the treatment options available and cost of treatment.
Nutrients obtained from vegetables, whole grains and fruits can help eliminate the dangers posed by colon cancer. The recommended non-starchy vegetables and fruits include asparagus, squash, cabbage, beets, broccoli and kale. As you take measures to enrich your diet, you are strongly advised to reduce consumption of red meat and processed meats. The meats that fall under these two groups include hotdogs, pork steak, sausage and hamburger. If you must eat meat, avoid consuming more than 3 servings of red meat per week.
Alcohol drinking is a huge risk factor in getting colon cancer and other diseases. The problem is even more disconcerting among heavy alcohol drinkers due to the increased risks. The ACS recommends a daily intake of not more than 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men.
Studies show chain smokers with a long history of smoking have a higher possibility of developing or dying from rectal or colon cancer. Smoking is also linked to more than 10 types of cancer and potentially fatal diseases like emphysema and cardiovascular diseases. The latter includes stroke and heart attack and angina or chest pain. Smoking is unsafe because inhaled tobacco can easily transfer harmful carcinogens into the colon and increase the size of cancer causing polyps. This particular threat can be reduced or eradicated by quitting smoking. Medically speaking, the benefits of not smoking far outweigh any recreational benefits. A number of private, non-profit and governments sponsored initiatives have been established to help smokers quit the habit.
Staying physically inactive increases the threat of developing rectal or colon cancer. Studies looking at colon cancer show having extra fat along the waistline is especially risky compared to having fat around the hips or thighs. In addition to eating healthy, you also need to perform regular exercises to put your weight in constant check. According to research, working out regularly can reduce the risk of getting colorectal cancer by up to 40%. The first step is to avoid putting any additional weight followed by steady efforts to reduce weight. Besides colon cancer, weight gain is a risk factor in more than 12 different types of cancer.
One of the main risks of getting colon cancer is being obese or overweight. To overcome obesity, engage in more physical activities. Engaging in physical activities every often can lower the threat of contracting many diseases while boosting your mental acuity and overall fitness. The activities can be something as simple as walking in the park, riding a bicycle and gardening.
The real cause of colon cancer is not fully understood. However, researchers believe the cancer develops when healthy cells with faulty DNA begin to mutate inside the colon tubing. The other risk factors include: family history of colon cancer, sedentary lifestyles, exposure to radiation and inflammatory intestinal conditions. Colon cancer expose may also come from conditions like non-insulin dependent diabetes type II and ulcerative colitis.
The family history of colorectal problems has been traced on hereditary syndromes like Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis. For people with family history of cancer, testing may be ordered on parents, children and other family members.
Although radiation is helpful in the treatment and prevention of colon cancer and other diseases, studies released by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission show exposure to any quantity of radiation can raise the probability of contracting hereditary diseases and cancer, including colorectal cancer.
The remedy to sedentary lifestyle is making positive lifestyle changes to minimize the chance of getting the disease. The changes cover everything from eating healthy foods and exercising regularly to quitting smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation. When you suspect colon cancer or related ailments, the right time to see a doctor is when you experience unremitting symptoms.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author. This content has not been paid for by any advertiser nor does WhipCancer.org recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. WhipCancer.org does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and information contained on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Please seek the advice of your physician or other professional healthcare provider with any questions you may have.