March 25, 2021
Cancerous growths that develop in the colon are not just excruciatingly painful but also life-threatening. The third most common form of cancer in the United States, carcinoma of the colon affects 1 out of 20 people. What starts as a minuscule polyp in the colon converts into a full-fledged malignant growth in roughly 5 to 10 years. During this period the cancer cells remain contained in the polyp and do not infiltrate other parts of the colon.
But the good news is that if you know what signs to look out for and are willing to get screened if you are over 45 years of age, then your probability of beating the carcinoma increases dramatically. In this blog, we will talk about the signs of colon cancer and the preventative measures. Read on to learn more.
Here is a list of signals that you should always look out for and report immediately to your physician:
Any amount of blood in the stool may indicate a serious health issue that should be reported to a physician immediately. Sometimes the stool might appear darkish in color or even black if it contains blood in it. It is important to note such an occurrence and seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
Most people have a set bowel movement pattern. If there are any sudden alterations in bowel habits like passing stools that are more tapered in shape than before, it could mean that there is a colonic growth that is perpetrating these changes.
Pain in the abdominal region that lasts for an extended period is a sign that is neither hard to catch nor should it be ignored. Reporting chronic abdominal distress to a physician immediately is a step toward identifying colon cancer at an early stage.
An onset of anemia as a result of lowered hemoglobin levels can be a warning sign, especially if you have not had anemia before.
Although most people look forward to seeing the weighing scale show a lower reading than before if such an event occurs in the absence of proactive measures like increased physical exercise or diet control, then it is a cause for concern.
Treatment for colon cancer requires a multi-faceted approach that depends on the stage and severity of the disease. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Surgery is often the primary treatment, whereas, in more advanced cases, oncologists may consider chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of treatment options. In recent years, targeted therapy and immunotherapy have also improved treatment outcomes for colorectal cancer. Treatment plans are tailored to each individual's condition, and often involve a combination of these approaches to maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects.
There are several things you can do to help prevent colon cancer:
The most effective way to prevent colon cancer is to get regular colon cancer screenings that can help detect precancerous polyps. Early detection helps in good prognosis as individuals mostly experience complete recovery if they are diagnosed with precancerous polyps.
However, screening recommendations vary depending on your age and other factors. Therefore, it is crucial to talk to your doctor about when you should begin screening and how often you should have a colonoscopy.
A diet rich in fiber and low in fat can significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer. Also, limit the consumption of processed foods and red meat and incorporate more fresh fruits and veggies into the diet.
Regular exercise can be a great help to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Try to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week and you can see the results for yourself.
Read more: How to Exercise During Cancer Treatment
Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of colon cancer significantly. Similarly, smoking has not only been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer but also to many other types of cancer. Therefore, quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health.
Read more: Nicotine: Gum Friend or Foe?
Individuals with a family history of colon cancer or other types of cancer may be at an increased risk. It is critical to consult a doctor about it and check whether there is a need to begin screening earlier or more frequently.
According to studies, approximately 153,020 colorectal cancer cases will be diagnosed by the end of 2023 in the USA. Being aware of the symptoms that could point towards colonic carcinoma is a good way to detect this disease early and increase the chances of a better prognosis. However, the unfortunate truth about this condition is that very often it does not present any signs till it reaches an advanced stage. Therefore, if you are over 45 years of age and have a family history of colon cancer, then getting yourself screened periodically is a better way of ensuring that you catch cancer at an early stage. Multiple screening techniques are available for colorectal cancer today. Talk to a physician to find out which one suits you the best and how frequently you should get it done.
For more information on various types of cancer and its treatments, contact ACTC, a leading cancer treatment center in Florida, and consult our highly skilled cancer care specialists.