Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

Colorectal cancer is a digestive disorder that is found in the cells of the colon and rectum (large intestine). As it is possible for cancerous tumors that are found in the colon and rectum to spread to other parts of the body, it is vitally important to catch colorectal cancer early. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA, however thanks to advanced screening procedures and polyp removal the number of new cases of colorectal cancer is decreasing.

Symptoms to look for include:

Bowel habit changes from what you normally experience

Bleeding from the rectum or seeing blood in your stools.

Cramping or a gnawing stomach pain

Vomiting

Weakness or fatigue

Jaundice (yellowish coloring to your skin or sclera of the eye)

The symptoms of this type of cancer can mimic other less serious conditions and diseases such as infections, hemorrhoids, and inflammatory bowel disease. Catching colorectal cancer early means there is a very good chance for a cure. An individual may not experience any symptoms and still have colorectal cancer.

Risk Factors

Colorectal cancer can affect people of any age, but the majority of people who have colorectal cancer are over the age of 50.

Those who eat diets which are high in fat and calories and low in fiber are more likely to contract this cancer.

Individuals who have polyps (benign growths) such as those in people over 50 are common leading symptoms for colorectal cancer.

Those people who have a family history of colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine or breast cancers all have a slightly increased risk compared with the population at large. Other people with an increased risk of this disease are those with ulcerative colitis.

Individuals who are at an increased risk for colorectal cancer should receive genetic testing, or early tests from the doctor’s office so that they can catch it early if possible.

Many colon cancers can be avoided by proper diet and exercise including:

Diet and exercise by eating more fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and by avoiding high-fat, low-fiber foods, plus by getting enough exercise.

Drug therapy using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ASA, estrogen replacement therapy for women who are post-menopausal can also reduce the risk for colorectal cancer.

Screenings can also help to prevent colorectal cancer at appropriate ages. Catching this cancer early is the single most important thing individuals can do if they are in the high-risk group.

Even people who do not have risk factors or symptoms of colorectal disease should still receive screenings such as digital rectal examination, signoidoscopy, colonoscopy and also the barium enema with air contrast.

Treatment

If you are diagnosed with colorectal cancer the treatment you receive will depend on your age, your overall health at the time, the extent of the disease, your tolerance for medications, what the doctor suspects will be the expectation for the course of the disease, and of course your own input and preferences. Treatment also depends on the stage of the cancer tumor, if it has spread and how far it has spread by the time it is caught.

Amongst the treatments your doctor may suggest are colon surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

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