March is Colon Cancer Awareness month, a perfect opportunity to educate yourself about this disease. Learn the symptoms of colon cancer and some ways to prevent the disease. If you notice any symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.
What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer may develop when cells in the large intestine become abnormal and grow out of control. Colon cancers can have different symptoms, depending on what area of the colon is affected.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer can have no symptoms in the early stages. Therefore, it is essential to undergo a screening test. The most common symptom of colon cancer is the presence of blood in the stool. Other symptoms include a change in bowel habits, like going more often or less often than usual. Some people also experience abdominal pain or weight loss.
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s essential to see your doctor right away.
How to Prevent Colon Cancer
There are genetic and environmental factors that can increase risk of colon cancer. Diet plays a significant role in cancer prevention. Eating plenty of fiber can help reduce the risk in people who have had polyps removed. Reducing red meat and processed meat intake can lower your risk as well. Finally, it’s essential not to smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use is responsible for developing many cancers (including lung, esophageal, bladder, stomach, mouth, tongue, and throat cancers) and it increases the risk of developing colon cancer by 20-30%.
If you are over 45 or have a family history of colon cancer, you should ask your doctor about getting a colonoscopy. It would be best to avoid excessive alcohol consumption, which has been linked to an increased risk of developing colon cancer. Colon cancer can be caused by chronic inflammation in the intestines from diseases such as Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. These diseases are usually treated with diet changes or medicines that reduce inflammation.
Treatment for Colon Cancer
If diagnosed with colon cancer, your treatment will depend on the size of the tumor and the stage of colon cancer. It often involves surgery to remove cancer. If cancer is found in the lymph nodes, you will need chemotherapy.
Colon Cancer Prevention Strategies
Colon cancer is often avoidable with proper prevention methods, including:
- Getting screened. The American Cancer Society advises that adults aged 45 and older should undergo a colonoscopy every 10 years.
- Avoiding obesity. Obesity causes the development of Colon cancer.
- Eating healthier foods. Diet can significantly impact the chances of developing colon cancer, so eating healthy foods is crucial.
- Reducing your alcohol intake. Alcohol has been identified as a risking factor for colorectal cancer, so it’s essential to reduce your consumption or avoid alcohol altogether if you’re at high risk of developing colon cancer.
Schedule an Appointment
Colon cancer is hazardous since it’s the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Colon cancer symptoms can be hard to detect, so it’s essential to be aware of the warning signs and be proactive about prevention.
If you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with colon cancer, you and your doctors need to create together a treatment plan tailored to your needs and a treatment that works best for you. Call Arizona Colorectal Experts at (602) 844-5157 or contact us online to set up your appointment.