Doctor explaining to patient about colon cancerColon Cancer: Early Detection Produces Better Health Outcomes L Mensah

Are you Experiencing cramps and abdominal pain?

Do you have difficulty going to the bathroom?

Do you feel that you do not have enough energy?

Do not ignore tummy discomfort that hangs on. Consider the likelihood of colon cancer and schedule a visit to your primary care doctor. It is also good to heighten your awareness of this condition.

Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths. 

Colorectal Cancer Facts:

Colorectal cancer is as common in women as men and affects all racial and ethnic groups. The incidence rates of colon cancer, most in the rectum, are higher for people who are Black than people who identify as white.

This cancer arises in people fifty and older. However, colon cancer is not solely a disease of older people. The at-risk age range shows a rising incidence of colorectal cancer in younger people. It is on the increase in individuals younger than 50 years of age. 

The exact causes of colorectal cancer are unknown, but you are more likely to develop it if you have certain risk factors.

Genetics is a risk factor, but most people who get colorectal cancer do not get the disease because of genetics. Also, some may not even have any known risk factors. 

  • The colon and rectum are parts of the large intestine and the digestive system. The rectum acts as a storage unit and holds the stool until a bowel movement occurs. 
  • Colorectal cancer conceals its presence by the absence of symptoms in its initial stages. 
  • Colon Cancer grows slowly and is present for several years before showing symptoms as the tumor spreads into surrounding tissues and organs.

Cell Generation:

Your body generates new cells that grow, divide, and die to keep cells in balance and your body healthy. Colorectal cancer starts within the cells that line the colon or rectum and develops from uncontrolled cell growth.

Most colorectal cancers begin as a tumor in the tissue that lines the inner surface of the colon or rectum.

 Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors:

  • A history of ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.
  • A history of colorectal polyps.
  • A family history of colorectal cancer.
  • Some other risk factors are obesity, diabetes, and dietary choices.

Warning Signs: 

  • You can show signs of iron deficiency anemia due to prolonged blood loss.
  • Fatigue symptoms of being continually tired. 
  • Abdominal problems such as bloating, fullness, cramps, or abdominal pain.
  • Change in bowel habits with the onset of either diarrhea or constipation episodes.
  •  A feeling in the rectum that your bowel movement is incomplete
  • Lump in the abdomen or rectum. Pain or discomfort in the rectum. 
  • Stools could appear narrower than usual because of a partial bowel obstruction.
  • Late-stage symptoms show bleeding from the rectum and blood in or on a stool
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Shortness of breath

Always listen to your body. If you have symptoms hanging on, get a health check. It is wise to take prompt action to deal with colon cancer.

Left untreated colorectal cancer can become metastatic and extend to other organ areas. It commonly spreads to local lymph nodes, the liver, and the lung. Late-stage metastasized cancer is not easy to treat.

Prevention Strategies: 

  • The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get regular appraisals if you have a familial risk or symptoms of bowel troubles.
  • Colorectal Screening looks for cancer in people who do not have any disease symptoms. 
  • Screening can detect pre-cancerous polyps and help discover colon cancer in an early stage.
  • Regardless of your age, tell your doctor if you have any signs that could indicate colorectal cancer. 
  • Consult with your physician if you are concerned about any bowel changes. 
  •  Regularly scheduled screening tests will depend on your health history and colorectal cancer risk.

Screening Tests: 

Screening tests the most used are colonoscopy, Sigmoidoscopy, and stool occult test. 

  • A colonoscopy exam investigates the inside of the bowel.
  • A colonoscope is a lighted tube inserted into the rectum and the entire colon to look for polyps or cancer.
  • A Sigmoidoscopy screening test allows for removing polyps, which can also prevent colorectal cancer.
  • A stool occult blood test finds blood in the feces or stool, a sign of polyps or cancer.
  • There are also other less used and newer colorectal cancer screening methods.
  • Tests that reveal abnormality also require a colonoscopy.

If you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, you will have questions about your prognosis and treatment.

Treatment Options:

Colorectal cancer treatment is according to the stage of cancer.

 Staging protocols identify the severity of the condition.

  • Surgery removes cancer. 
  • Remove tumors that may have spread to organs like the liver or lungs.
  • Medication Treatments destroy cancer cells either an intravenous or orally as a pill or capsule, including Chemotherapy treatments, Targeted therapy, or Immunotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy or high-energy x-rays destroy cancer cells before and after surgery.
  • A care plan to help manage and support non-medical needs since colon cancer and its treatment cause physical symptoms and emotional and socialeffects.