One of the most common types of cancer is considered to be colon cancer. Luckily, it can be prevented very easily. If it’s detected in the later stages, it can be deadly. It is in fact the second-leading cause of death in the USA.
It’s also called colorectal cancer because it is actually the cancer of the colon or rectum. Colon cancer appears because of a malignant growth present in the lining of the colon or rectum .
Every patient is first advised to perform a colonoscopy since it is the best way to discover cancer very early.
This procedure is performed by a specialist who examines your colon using a lighted tube which is long and flexible and its name is colonoscope. There is a video camera on the end of the colonoscope which shows images on a special screen. If there are any polyps, they can be removed with the help of an instrument which goes through the colonoscope. The removed polyps are then being sent to a laboratory where the pathologists who work there should be able to see if those polyps are precancerous, benign or cancerous. It’s a procedure which lasts for about 30 minutes. You’re partially sedated which means you’re still awake.
People who have a family history of cancer should check themselves earlier, while other people should check near the age of 50. The procedure should be repeated on every 10 years.
Other Ways to Detect Colon Cancer
Some other methods of screening that should detect colon cancer include:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy. It’s a procedure very similar to colonoscopy, but only one part of the colon is checked and that’s the bottom. Still, it’s not as effective as colonoscopy because it doesn’t examine the whole colon.
- Stool tests. These tests can notice very small amounts of blood that can only be seen under the microscope. You should perform this kind of test once every year. If you get e positive result, you’ll have to perform a colonoscopy.
- CT colonography. This technology uses X-ray technology. It is also less effective than standard colonoscopy.
Preventing Colon Cancer
You should definitely make some lifestyle changes if you want to prevent colon cancer. Here are some of them:
- Quit smoking! Smoking is an extremely bad habit for our whole organism, especially our lungs and heart, but it also increase the incidence of acquiring colon cancer. If you quit it, you’ll help yourself avoid this risk.
- Be physically active and exercise! People who exercise regularly have a 25% smaller risk of developing colon cancer than people who have a more sedentary lifestyle.
- Eat a healthy diet which is well-balanced. The best way to prevent yourself from acquiring this type of cancer is eat a diet that is rich in fruits and cruciferous vegetables like: cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Stop eating a lot of meat, especially red meat. Avoid meats that are broiled, grilled and fried.
- Take daily NSAIDs. If you intake small doses of aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), you may decrease the risk of colon cancer, but first, consult with your doctor.
- Don’t ignore any symptoms. A very characteristic black or bright red color of your stool, cramps, intestinal discomfort, gases, losing weight and fatigue are only some of the most common signs. Visit your doctor as soon as possible if you notice some of them.
- Know your health history. If you have a history of polyps or cancer, you should check yourself at an early age. Even people with family history of various types of cancer, as well as Crohn’s disease or any type of intestinal disease should check themselves. Your doctor should advise you about which method you should use, which signs you should pay attention to and which changes in your lifestyle you need to make.