Colon cancer is common in old people but it can affect a person of any age. The early stage of colon cancer is benign polyps that form inside the colon. These benign polyps can progress with time and undergo cancerous change. Regular screenings for colon cancer helps to catch any changes at an early stage because the benign polyps may not show any symptoms. When colon cancer has involved the rectum, it is called colorectal cancer.
Diagnosis of colon cancer is made by the best Cypress Gastroenterologist using a thorough medical history and then conducting a physical examination of your body systems especially a per abdomen examination. The doctor will then order laboratory tests and imaging tests like a colonoscopy to view the colon. Treatment of colon cancer depends on the stage of cancer and may involve surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or palliative care.
What Are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?
An early symptom of colon cancer is changing in your bowel habits. You may start experiencing persistent diarrhea or constipation. The consistency of your stool may also change. You may also notice blood in your stool or bleeding from your rectum after wiping. Another symptom of colon cancer is abdominal discomfort like abdominal pain or cramps. You may also start having bloating.
Another common symptom of many cancers and chronic conditions that is also experienced in colon cancer is unexplained weight loss. You lose weight when you are not dieting and you haven’t changed your eating habits. You may feel weak and easily fatigued when you have colon cancer. Colon cancer presents with a feeling of incomplete bowel emptying. These symptoms depend on the stage of colon cancer which you are in. You should consult a doctor who will assess you and determine if you have colon cancer.
What Are the Risk Factors of Colon Cancer?
Old age is one risk factor of colon cancer because most people with colon cancer are diagnosed after the age of 50 years. Having a family member who has had colon cancer increases your risk of having colon cancer. Obesity increases the risk of colon cancer and obese people who have colon cancer have a worse prognosis than other people. Having benign polyps inside your colon increases the risk of colon cancer because these polyps can undergo cancerous change.
Eating a low fiber diet and a diet which has a lot of fat like processed red meat also increases your risk of colon cancer. Leading a sedentary lifestyle with a lot of physical inactivities is associated with a high risk of colon cancer. Suffering from inflammatory conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease increases the risk of getting colon cancer.
Genetic conditions like familial adenomatous polyposis and Lynch syndrome increase the risk of colon cancer. If you suffer from insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes, you are more predisposed to colon cancer. Lifestyle behaviors like smoking and drinking alcohol increase your risk of getting colon cancer. If you are on radiotherapy for another abdominal condition, your risk of developing colon cancer may increase after radiotherapy.
Colon cancer can affect a person of any age but is more common in people who are older than 50 years old. The symptoms of colon cancer include a change in bowel habits and the consistency of stool, unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain, and bloating. Some of the risk factors of colon cancer include old age, obesity, genetic predisposition, and eating a diet with low fiber and high fat. You should go for regular screenings of colon cancer so that cancer can be detected early.