Colon Cancer: Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Prevention
Colon cancer occurs when cancerous cells develop in the colon and take over healthy cells. This is the third most common form of cancer and is more common in men. Colon cancer and rectal cancer have many features in common which is why they are often called colorectal cancer.
Carcinoma is a type of cancer that starts in the lining of an organ. Lymphoma, melanoma, sarcomas, and carcinoid tumors are other types of cancer but are rare.
- One risk factor that could increase a person’s chances to develop colon cancer is colorectal polyps which is a growth that develops from the lining of the colon.
- Another risk factor is if a person has cancer in other parts of the body. That person’s risk of getting colon cancer is greater compared to those who do not have any cancer.
- Persons with a family history of colon cancer are also more susceptible to risk.
- Some studies show that a high in meat, high in fat, and low in fiber diet can increase the risk of cancer.
- In most colon cancer cases, there are no visible symptoms. However, certain changes in bowel habits might indicate the development of colon cancer. If a person is suffering from diarrhea or constipation for a long period of time, that person may consider visiting a doctor for a proper check-up.
- Another symptom is if there is blood in a person’s stool or if there is unexplained anemia.
- Persistent pain in the abdominal area could also be an indication of colon cancer.
- Unexplained weight loss can also be attributed to this disease.
Reducing Your Risks
To reduce the risk of getting colon cancer, you should have your doctor perform a colonoscopy. This is important especially for men and women aged 50 and above. A Colonoscopy may scare most people because the procedure requires cleaning out the colon but this is an effective preventive measure.
If your family has a history of colon polyps or other inflammatory bowel diseases should also undergo colonoscopy even before the age of 50 because they are at a greater risk of developing colon cancer. Those who have a family history of colon cancer should also consider having a colonoscopy at an earlier age.
Sigmoidoscopy and barium enema are other tests that can be used to aid in the prevention of colon cancer. Keeping a healthy and balanced diet is also important. You should maintain a low-fat, high-fiber diet as this can lower your risk of developing colon cancer.
Another way to prevent colon cancer is to quit smoking and to avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke. Studies show that colon cancer is more common in smokers than non-smokers.
Taking aspirin daily can also help to prevent a person from developing colon cancer because aspirin gets in the way of prostaglandin metabolism and this prevents cancer and other cardiovascular diseases. One 325mg aspirin daily is enough.
Taking 1500mg of calcium a day also shows to lower the risk of colon cancer.
Selenium is an antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals and is essential for the functioning of the immune system and the thyroid gland. Taking selenium or other antioxidants daily is also recommended, along with a daily multi-vitamin.
There has been researching on the anti-cancer capabilities of Tumeric. Tumeric is one of the main ingredients in curry powder so adding this to your dishes once in a while may help in the fight against cancer.
These are some ways to lower the risk of developing colon cancer although there is no 100% guarantee that you will not develop the disease if you follow all of these.
And remember to always consult your physician when you have questions about health issues no matter how minor you think they are.