For nonsmokers, colon cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. It is the third leading cause of death for both men and women, and each year in the U.S., 140,000 new cases of colon cancer are expected.
These numbers may seem grim, but early detection is life-saving. When detected early, more than 90% of patients can be cured. With Colon Cancer Awareness Month ending, our physicians and staff want you to know all there is to know about Colon Cancer. It is essential that patients are educated about colon cancer’s symptoms, risk factors, treatment, and prevention.
Colon Cancer Symptoms
If you’re wondering why your doctor has suddenly started pushing you to undergo a colonoscopy once you reach age 45, it’s because the most common symptom of colon cancer is no symptom at all. Because a person’s colon is a large organ, it can handle when tissue growths occur without your body being aware and raising the alarm through physical symptoms.
When symptoms do arise, patients should look out for:
- Blood in your stool/rectal bleeding
- Changing bowel habits: diarrhea, constipation or if your stool is a different consistency
- Pain, discomfort, cramping in your abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue, weakness, anemia
You may be at risk for colon cancer if you…
- Are 45 or older (men AND women)
- Have a family or personal history of colon cancer/colon polyps
- Are obese, diabetic, a smoker, or consume a heavy amount of alcohol
- Are not active, lead a sedentary lifestyle
- Have a diet consistently low in fiber and high in fat
Colon Cancer Treatment
Colon cancer is typically treated with a colectomy surgery. A colectomy is a procedure in which all or part of a person’s colon is removed – when the entire colon is removed, the procedure is known as a proctocolectomy. Chemotherapy is recommended if colon cancer is more advanced.
Colon cancer is preventable. The key is to take the necessary steps to detect any abnormal tissue or cell growth early before it can advance to a life-threatening condition. Talk to your gastroenterologist today about scheduling a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is the “gold standard” for colon cancer prevention. The procedure is designed with your comfort in mind and has been proven to save countless lives year after year.
To schedule your colonoscopy, contact your Gastroenterologist or click here to find a Provider in your area.