Your Colon Cancer Prevention And Treatment Guide
There are many forms of cancer, but colon cancer is becoming more and more common, especially among older Americans. If left ignored, colon cancer, like any cancer, can metastasize to the rest of the body. If you would like to know more about prevention and treatment, keep reading.
What Causes Colon Cancer and What Are the Symptoms?
Colon cancer develops when abnormal cells develop in the large intestine. They often start off as small polyps, but they can quickly enlarge and/or become cancerous. As a result, colon cancer can cause changes in your bowel habits as the fecal matter tries to move through the blocked colon. After going to the bathroom, it may still feel like your bowls are full.
Many patients also have rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, especially if a polyp bursts. Like other forms of cancer, patients may also have fatigue, weakness, and weight loss.
How Can You Help Prevent Colon Cancer?
Cancer can affect anyone, but there are some risk factors that increase your chances of developing colon cancer. Unfortunately, you can't prevent some risk factors like your age or race. However, many risk factors are associated with lifestyle choices. As a result, you can reduce your risk by:
- Controlling your weight to avoid obesity
- Getting and staying active to avoid a sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking tobacco
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Eating a diet high in fat and low in fiber
In addition, as you get older, you should start getting regular colonoscopies to look for signs of colon cancer. If the doctor finds polyps, they remove and test them.
How Is Colon Cancer Treated?
Colon cancer treatment largely depends on the stage. At first, removing the cancerous cells is usually enough. However, as the disease progresses, you may need some or all of your colon removed. If cancer reaches other parts of the body and/or the lymph nodes, you may need a combination of treatments, including:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted drug therapy
Patients may also receive palliative care to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. In advanced cases, treatment may focus more on palliative care to help manage pain.
Colon cancer is incredibly common, but there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of it. If you believe you have colon cancer, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you would like to know more, contact a doctor today.