Colon cancer, also known as Colorectal cancer or CRC, is a type of cancer that affects the colon. It typically develops from polyps which start as benign growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed in time due to its often vague early signs and symptoms.
The Main Symptoms of Colon Cancer
The main symptoms of colon cancer can vary from person to person, but there are some common signs that you should be aware of. These symptoms can include:
- Changes in Bowel Habits
- Constipation: Constipation is a common problem that affects people of all ages. It’s defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week and can cause discomfort, bloating, and gas. Constipation can be caused by various factors, including diet, medications, and lifestyle habits.
- Blood in your stool: Blood in your seat can be an ominous sign that something is wrong, but it doesn’t always mean that you have CRC. There are many different blood causes in your stool, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and colitis.
- Abdominal Pain: Abdominal pain is a common symptom of colon cancer. While various factors can cause it, it’s often one of the first signs of something wrong. Abdominal pain can be sharp and stabbing or dull and aching. It may come and go or be constant. It can vary in intensity,
- Bloating: Bloating is a common symptom of colon cancer. While various factors can cause it, it’s often one of the first signs of something wrong. Abdominal pain can be sharp and stabbing or dull and aching. It may come and go or be constant. It can vary in intensity but is usually most noticeable after eating.
- Unexplained Weight Loss: Colon cancer can cause weight loss for several reasons. Cancer may prevent the intestines from absorbing nutrients from food, leading to weight loss. The tumor may also cause pain or discomfort, leading to a decreased appetite.
How to Prevent Colorectal Cancer
You can do several things to help reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Some of the most critical include:
- Eating a healthy diet: A healthy diet is essential for overall health and can help reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.
- Getting regular exercise: Exercise is essential for overall health and can help reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of colorectal cancer. Try to keep a healthy weight by eating healthy and exercising regularly.
- Limiting alcohol intake: Heavy alcohol use can increase your risk of colorectal cancer. Try to limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day.
- Avoiding processed meats: Processed meats, such as bacon, ham, and sausage, are high in sodium and nitrates, which may increase your risk of colorectal cancer. Try to limit your intake of processed meats and eat more lean protein sources instead.
- Get Screenings Regularly: The best way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly. Screening tests can detect precancerous polyps and early signs of cancer, allowing for earlier treatment.
Treatment of Colon Cancer
There are a variety of treatments available for colon cancer, depending on the stage of the disease. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy.
Surgery is typically the first line of treatment for colon cancer. This may involve removing the tumor and some surrounding tissue or the entire colon and rectum.
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy beams to destroy cancer cells. It may be used in addition to surgery or as the primary treatment for people who can’t have surgery.
Chemotherapy is a type of medication that kills cancer cells. It’s typically used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Targeted therapy is a type of medication that specifically targets cancer cells. It may be used in addition to chemotherapy or as the primary treatment for people who can’t have surgery or radiation therapy.