Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in large intestine of our digestive system. It is common in adults and older age but can occur in any age group.
What causes colon cancer?
There are various complex genetic and molecular level of changes in body that causes colon cancer after long time. Those whose family and first degree relatives have cancer have high chance of developing cancer themselves. Food habits like: high fatty food and low fibre in diet also has some role. As all the type of cancer, smoking also provokes for the colon cancer,
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
The symptoms of colon cancer may vary depending upon the individual case. Some have early symptoms and some presents later. Common among many of them are:
- Change in bowel habits: You may have persistent diarrhoea or constipation
- Blood in stool: There may be fresh blood in stool or blackening of stool can occur. Know the other causes of blood in stool here.
- Weight loss that develops over gradual period of time
- Weakness and fatigue
How to be sure if you have colon cancer?
There are various measures and tests available to be sure if your doctor thinks you have colon cancer.
- Colonoscopy: A colonoscope allows doctor to look inside entire rectum and colon. Patient is sedated for colonoscopy. It can also be used for screening in case of those having high risk of colon cancer.
Colonoscopy done; Image source: Webmd.com
- Biopsy: A small amount of tissue is removed for examination under microscope. Biopsy is the confirmatory test for colon cancer.
- Molecular testing of tumour: Laboratory test can be done to identify specific genes proteins and other factors unique to cancer.
- Blood test: Colorectal cancer bleeds into large intestine or rectum, people with disease may become anaemic. So hemoglobin level in the blood may be suggestive in diagnosis.
- Magnetic resonance imaging(MRI): MRI uses magnetic field to produce detailed image of body. It helps to measure tumour’s size and to detect location.
How to treat colon cancer?
Your docotor may use different treatment modalities depending upon the stages and grading of the cancer. If its diagnosed in early stage surgery may be done to remove cancer tissue. In late cases chemotherapy or radiation may be useful.
How to prevent from colon cancer?
Prevention is better than cure. You can follow the following healthy practices for preventing the colon cancer:
- Screening colon cancer: People should consider screening around age of 50 years. Those who have family history of cancer should do screening early.
- Stop smoking: Smoking is culprit of many cancers, colon cancer being one of them. Stop smoking from today!!! You might want to consult your doctor for ways to stop smoking like nicotine patches or gums
- Exercise and losing weight: Exercise and lowering weight for at least 30 minutes every day has protective effect against colon cancer.
- Limit alcohol intake: Limit the intake of alcohol. If you cant stop drinking completely do not drink more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
Image source: Coloncancerpreventionproject.org
- Diet: Limit red meat and high fat containing food. Take more fibres in the diet.
- Get enough calcium and Vitamin D in the diet