Colon Cancer and Its Prevention
Colon cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. In fact, the statistics reveal that it is the third most common cancer in the USA. According to the American Cancer Society, around 50,260 deaths are expected due to the colon cancer. These numbers prove how serious colon cancer is. The risk of the colon cancer could be reduced, but the unease in the society to discuss on bowels and intestine is proving to be the major hurdle to prevent it.
According to the Dr. Doug Matthews, who is the colorectal surgeon told that many people in the society hesitate to talk about their intestine. Doug had a family history. He had three polyps in his colon in his 40s; however, all of them were detected early, and they were removed, preventing him from the colon cancer. Dr. Doug Matthews wants to see people compare their colon with one another. He realizes that it won’t be a friendly conversation, but he knows that it could save a life of a person.
Dr. Doug Matthews shares his experience as a colorectal surgeon. He explains that he along with his specialist friends have dealt with a lot of issues where the problems in the peoples’ rectal are within a finger’s reach. He is sad with the fact that many people who are facing this issue had an appointment with the physician in the past, but they never had a test to diagnose their problem.
The screenings, such as the colonoscopies can effectively detect colorectal cancer. About 9 out of 10 people with an early detection are treated successfully, and they are still living their life even after 5 years.
Why Should Young People Be Concerned about Their Colon Health?
According to the study, there is a significant increase in the colorectal cancer rates among young people. This is a serious concern for both clinicians and general people. A greater importance should be given to early screenings for early detection of colorectal cancer. The one-third colon cancer patients are under the age of 50. Teenagers, the people in the early or mid-20s also have the possibility of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Although the no. of young patients is still low, it does not mean that young people should ignore the risk. There are other methods of screenings besides colonoscopies like a fecal immunochemical test for examining the hidden blood in the stool. However, colonoscopy is still the recommended method, as any polyps if found, can be removed right away with a colonoscopy without going through extra procedures. The serious colon problems cannot be effectively diagnosed with the stool blood test.
Screenings can help in early detection of colorectal cancer. However, doctors have huge obstacles to provide effective care. Matthews explains that the Medi-Cal population is at a greater risk because the screening is not carried out unless the symptoms are seen. Furthermore, the patients in the age group of 50-65 with Medi-Cal want to go through screenings, but they are not capable of paying for it.
Matthews added that the strong, coordinated health care system is unavailable, which makes it difficult to reach the people. Matthews’s goal is to get every single person in the screening population tested. He advises people to do a bit of research about their family history. If you’re at risk, then it’s recommended to get a colonoscopy.
What are The Warning Signs?
Matthews has found a handful of patients who came to him thinking they have hemorrhoids but were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Matthews suggests the people write down the symptoms as benign problems if they have not yet gone through screening, as it may turn out to be a serious issue. The warning signs are seen in the form of change in your bowel movement. Some of the changes that could be seen are:
- Explosive gas and stool
- Painful bowel movements
- Constant constipation
- Change in the shape and the size of the stool (like a pencil)
- Blood in the stool
The majority of the colon cancer patients are the ones with the family history; however, the people without the family history, but with the warning signs should also be concerned. The patients with the history of colon cancer/polyps should start screening 10 years earlier than their first-degree relative who was diagnosed. The people can also talk to the doctors about what tests to take and how often they need to take the tests.
How to Prevent Yourself from the Colon Cancer?
Colon cancers can be caused due to both genetic and environmental factors. Here are some of the ways to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Stay away from smoking and drinking
- Avoid preserved meat; Eat foods with a high fiber and low fat. Consume less red meat. Cook your meals to reduce the carcinogen intake, such as the barbecue style and seared foods.
- Try to ward off obesity.
The study shows that the obese people have a higher risk of being diagnosed with a colon cancer. Moreover, the people who are more exposed to carcinogens like firefighters also have a higher risk than others.
Prevention is better than cure. It’s better to take action to prevent yourself from colon cancer instead of ignoring your colon health issues. By now, you are aware of the fact that there are plenty of things you can do to prevent yourself from the risk of the colon cancer. Take good care of your colon health; share this information with your friends without any hesitation, and pursue a healthy life.