Signs & Symptoms
A sudden change in your bowel pattern, such as diarrhea or constipation, should urge you to seek a doctor. In some cases, the change is shown in the consistency or color of the patient’s stool. Rectal bleeding or blood in feces due to constipation may also develop. Weakness and easily getting tired from minimal labor work may also be vague symptoms of colon cancer. Weakness and getting easily fatigued from minimal labor work can also develop due to diarrhea.
Some colon cancer patients also experience unexplained weight loss, which may be contributed by frequent defecation. A lot of people suffering from colorectal cancer experienced no signs or symptoms of the condition during its early stages. When symptoms do pop up, they will likely differ, reliant upon the tumor’s size and location in your colon.
If you experience any symptoms of colorectal cancer like blood spots in feces or a persistent change in bowel pattern, make an appointment with your physician. Consult with him/her regarding when you should start diagnosis for colon cancer. Guidelines advise colon cancer testings to start at the age of 50. Your physician may suggest an earlier or more regular testing if you have explicit risk factors like family history of the condition.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If your physician suspects you may have colorectal cancer, you will likely be referred to an expert who can treat the condition. This includes gastroenterologists, oncologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologists. Depending on what best fits your circumstances, you can be subjected to a range of medical procedures for diagnosis and treatment.
Tests that will be recommended by your physician include blood tests, using a scope to analyze the colon’s innards, using dye and X-rays to create an image of your colon, and the use of multiple CT images to generate a picture of your colon.
After you’ve tested positive through colon cancer diagnosis, your physician will be ordering examinations to identify the stage of your cancer. Staging aids in identifying what treatment procedures are best for you.
The kind of treatment your physician recommends will vary largely on the extent of your cancer. The three main treatment choices are – surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. If your cancer is minute in size, localized in a polyp, and in its initial stage, your physician may be able to remove it entirely via colonoscopy.
Larger sized polyps may be removed through laparoscopic surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon makes multiple small incisions within the abdominal lining and then inserts equipment with built-in cameras that captures images of the colon through a computer monitor. The surgeon can also acquire samples from lymph nodes in the part where the cancer is situated.
With chemotherapy, therapeutic results are obtained with the use of medication that destroy the cancerous cells. The procedure can be used either to destroy cancerous cells post-surgery, to manage tumor growth, or to alleviate signs and symptoms of the condition.
Radiation therapy is also a viable option to cure colorectal cancer. It makes use of specialized energy sources including X-rays to destroy cancerous cells that could have survived after surgery. The therapy can also be used to lessen the size of a large tumor prior an operation.
Natural remedies are very popular as of late and they do possess medicinal benefits. Studies have shown that many turmeric health benefits do exist. Turmeric can help against cancer, it won’t prevent cancer and it won’t treat cancer on its own. Turmeric is something you may consider using in addition to the treatment your physicians advise.
Cause & Risk Factor
During most cases, it is not entirely clear what causes colorectal cancer. Physicians recognize that colorectal cancer happens when normal cells in the colon change. Normal cells develop and divide in a chronological manner to keep the body functioning as it should be. In some events though, this development gets uncontrolled and cells continue to divide even when new cells are not required.
In both the colon and rectum, this abnormally excessive growth may lead to pre-cancerous cells building up in the intestinal lining. Over time, these abnormal cells could develop into cancerous cells.
Inherited gene mutations are one of the risk factors for developing the condition. However, the genes passed on from one family generation to another is linked to only a small percent of colorectal cancer cases. Inherited gene mutations is not necessarily connected with risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Age is another risk factor for colorectal cancer. Roughly 85 percent of people diagnosed with the condition are within the geriatric category. Colorectal cancer can also transpire around younger candidates, yet the percentage of that happening is quite thin. Race or ethnicity may also be a contributing factor for colon cancer. African American people have a higher risk of developing the condition as opposed to people of other races.
Diet may also be key to reducing the risk of colon and rectum cancer. If you take less fiber and more fat on a regular basis, you have a greater risk for colon and rectal cancer. Studies in this area have had mixed outcomes though. Living a passive or sedentary lifestyle can also lead to colorectal cancer. If you are inactive, you are likely to develop it.
For starters, undergo regular colon cancer screenings starting at the age of 50. For people with elevated risk, consider getting screened sooner. Other preventive techniques to perform include yearly fecal occult blood examinations, colonoscopy every after 10 years, CT colonoscopy every after 5 years, and stool DNA examination, which is a relatively nascent procedure.