Colon cancer, also known as Colorectal cancer or CRC, is one of the most common cancers in the United States. Colorectal cancer has several symptoms, though they may not be present at all times.
What is Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. CRC is the third most common type of cancer in the United States. Colorectal cancer can often be treated successfully if it is caught early.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Colorectal cancer may cause various symptoms, though they may not be present at all times. Some common symptoms of CRC include:
- Changes in bowel habits: One of the most common symptoms of colon cancer is changes in bowel habits. This may consist of having diarrhea or constipation. If you experience any of these changes for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor.
- Blood in the stool: Blood in the stool can signify that cancer is present in the colon or rectum.
- Abdominal pain or cramping: Many people with colorectal cancer experience abdominal pain or cramping. This pain may be mild or severe and may come and go.
- Weakness or fatigue: This feeling may be mild or severe and may come and go. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is vital to see a doctor. CRC can often be treated successfully if it is caught early.
How is Colon Cancer Treated?
Treatment for Colorectal Cancer includes:
- Surgery: CRC may be treated surgically if it is caught early. Surgery for Colon cancer includes removing the cancerous tumor and some of the surrounding tissue. This surgery is called a colectomy.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often combined with other treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy. There are many different chemotherapy drugs, and each drug works differently.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. The procedure may include one or more types of radiation therapy. The radiation therapy team will determine the best treatment plan for you.
- Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to target cancer cells. These drugs are often called molecularly targeted therapies or precision medicines.
How can Colon Cancer be Prevented?
There are many ways that Colon cancer can be prevented. Some of the ways that Colorectal cancer can be controlled include:
- Eating a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help reduce your risk of CRC. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
- Exercising regularly: Exercising regularly can help reduce your risk of Colon cancer.
- Avoiding tobacco: Smoking increases your risk of colorectal cancer. If you smoke, quit smoking.
- Limiting alcohol: Drinking alcohol can also increase your risk of CRC. Try to limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day.
- Getting regular screenings: Colon cancer screenings can help find cancer early when it is easier to treat. Screenings for colorectal cancer include a colonoscopy or fecal occult blood test.
If you are 50 years or older, talk to your doctor about which screenings are proper for you. CRC can often be prevented if it is caught early.
Colon cancer is a disease that can be difficult to detect in the early stages. Colorectal cancer symptoms are varied, but some common ones, such as rectal bleeding and unexplained weight loss.
Treatments vary depending on the location of diagnosis. Colon cancer prevention tips include eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco use. Colorectal cancer screenings are vital for those aged 50 and above and can often detect cancer before symptoms develop.