Colon cancer, also known as Colorectal cancer or CRC, is the third most common type of cancer in men and women in the United States. According to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, it is also one of the deadliest cancers. In 2012, there were more than 50,000 deaths from CRC in America. That’s why it’s important to know what causes Colorectal Cancer and how you can prevent it.
What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer begins when normal cells in the large intestine (colon) lining change and grow out of control. CRC can develop from a polyp, which is a small growth on the colon’s lining. Most polyps are not cancer, but some may turn into cancer over time.
Cause of Colon Cancer
Several factors can increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer. These include:
- Age: CRC is most common in people over 50.
- Ethnicity: Colon cancer is more common in African Americans and Hispanics than whites.
- Personal History: If you’ve had colon cancer before, you have a greater risk of developing it again.
- Family History: Colorectal cancer can run in families. If you have a relative who has had colon cancer, you’re more likely to develop it.
- Lifestyle Choices: Smoking and being overweight increase your risk of CRC.
How to Prevent Colon Cancer
You can do several things to reduce your risk of Colon Cancer. These include:
- Get Screened for Colon Cancer: Colorectal cancer can be cured if it’s caught early. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults at average risk for CRC start getting screened at age 50. If you have a higher risk, you should begin screening earlier.
- Eat a Healthy Diet: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce your risk of Colon Cancer.
- Exercise Regularly: Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of Colorectal Cancer.
- Avoid Smoking and Being Overweight: Smoking and being overweight increase your risk of CRC.
- Get Vaccinated Against HPV: HPV is a virus that can cause Colon Cancer. The HPV vaccine can help protect you from HPV.
- Consider Taking Aspirin: Aspirin has been shown to reduce the risk of Colorectal Cancer in some people.
- Getting Screened for Lynch Syndrome: Lynch Syndrome is a genetic disorder that increases your risk of CRC.
- Have Regular Checkups with Your Doctor: If you have any symptoms of Colon Cancer, see your doctor right away.
How to Know if You Have Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer can often be caught early with regular screenings. If you have any of the following symptoms, see your doctor right away:
– Blood in your stool
– Persistent diarrhea
– Unexplained weight loss
– General fatigue or weakness
– Pain in your abdomen or rectum
– Feeling like you have to move your bowels constantly
– Colorectal cancer can often be cured if it’s caught early. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.
CRC is a terrible disease that can be prevented if you take the proper precautions. Like all other forms of this type of cancer, Colorectal cancer starts with cells in your body growing out of control. Colon cancer cell growth happens when too many changes to the DNA inside these cells, and they grow uncontrollably. The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get regular screenings for the disease and eat a healthy diet.