Colon Cancer Awareness

  • By Premier Family Medical
  • 02 Mar, 2017

Healthy lifestyle and early detection are key

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Who is at risk of colon cancer?

Though colon cancer affects individuals of all ages, it is important to identify those who stand a greater chance of contracting the disease. The risk is divided into categories as indicated below:

General

  • Obesity  – individuals who are overweight stand a higher risk of developing colon cancer.
  • Age  – colon cancer can occur at any age, but 95% of cases are in adults age 45 and above.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)  – individuals diagnosed with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis or IBD are at a higher risk for colon cancer as well.
  • History of colorectal cancer or polyps  - if polyps were found in a previous colonoscopy session and removed, the risk of developing colon cancer still exists. Cancer may develop on the rectum or colon or recurrent cancer can grow quickly.

Genetics

  • Racial or ethnic background  – those individuals with Ashkenazi Jews or African Americans ethnic backgrounds are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. This group should be especially vigilant in getting checked regularly after age 45.
  • Family history  – Inherited genes or shared environmental factors can increase the risk of developing colon cancer.

Lifestyle

  • Alcohol – drinking heavily or those who are addicted to alcohol are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer.
  • Diet  – a healthy diethigh in fiber, fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of colon cancer. Also, limit consumption of meat prepared through broiling, frying, grilling, as well as processed and red meat.
  • Tobacco –  inhaling or swallowing tobacco (a known carcinogen) increases the risk of developing colon cancer.
  • Inactive lifestyle  – leading a sedentary life enhances the risk of developing this disease.

Symptoms

Colon cancer symptoms are only evident when cancer grows, and vary depending on the size of the tumor, the location of cancer and where it has spread. The symptoms may include weakness or fatigue, pain during bowel movement, cramps, and unexplained weight loss, among others.

Screening tests

  • Colonoscopy  – a flexible tube with a camera on one end is inserted into the rectum to identify the presence of polyps.
  • Barium enema  – liquid containing barium is injected into the colon after which an X-ray is taken to identify polyps.
  • Post-biopsy tests  – colon cancer diagnosis, in this case, involves CT scans of the liver, lungs and abdomen, chest x-rays, among other tests.

Prevention tips

Proactive measures includea diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, cutting down on red meat and saturated fat intake, among others.  However, even with following a healthy lifestyle, some individuals will still develop cancer. Additional ways to protect yourself is to have regular colonoscopy, annual faecal occult blood tests, stool DNA testing, flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years and CT colonography every five years (or as recommended by a physician).

Treatment options

1. Colectomy - this surgical procedure gets rid of part or all of the entire colon.

2. Chemotherapy  – makes use of chemicals to curtail the division of cells.

3. Radiotherapy  – involves the destruction of cancer by focusing high-energy rays on cancer cells.

Conclusion

It may not be possible to detect cancer in the initial stages, but it is possible to prevent its further development once it has been detected.

Recent posts from the Premier Family Medical Blog

Premier Family Medical Blog

By Premier Family Medical 13 Sep, 2017
In the U.S. alone upwards of 2.7 million people have this heart condition. What is it? It’s called atrial fibrillation and is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. Research has shown that the number of cases increases with age so as the population of the United States continues to age, the number of people affected is likely to rise. So what exactly is this condition, what symptoms does it lead to and how serious is it?
By Premier Family Medical 06 Sep, 2017

Each year in the United States,  more than 44,000 people take their own lives . That’s an average of 121 suicides per day. It’s estimated that for every one reported, 12 more people engage in self-harm, whether intentional suicide attempts or not.

With rates on a steady incline, it’s past time for action. Each and every one of us needs to have a part in supporting those who struggle with suicidal thoughts. In order to be of any help, though, we need to be able to recognize the signs of a person on the brink. What should you look for and how can you help?

By Premier Family Medical 30 Aug, 2017

It's estimated that  one in five high school athletes will suffer a concussion  during sports season. Younger athletes have the highest rate of concussions. While more perceived contact sports like football are thought to be the highest risk for a potential concussion, all sports carry a similar risk and demand similar precaution and treatment.  As a parent, your first instinct might be to ban your child from playing sports altogether. But is that really necessary? No. Why do we say this?

For one thing, if you encourage your child to play safely and receive training in head injury prevention, you can minimize risk. And if your child does happen to suffer from a concussion, there are steps you can take to ensure that they heal as quickly and as completely as possible.
More Posts

Request An Appointment Find A Doctor Find A Location

Ask Us Anything

Do you have a health topic or question you'd like us to blog about?  Send us a message and lets us know what you want to hear from us. 
*All submissions are confidential



Share by: