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What is Colon Cancer?
Colon Cancer is basically Cancer of the Large Intestine. The Large Intestine is the final stage of passage for food during the Digestive process. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clump of cells. These may overtime lead to the formation of cancer. The colon cancer starts from the right side of the colon and then ascends to the other parts. Another type of colon starts from the left side and descends to the right.
Is Colon Cancer and Colorectal Cancer the same thing?
Colon Cancer and Colorectal cancer could be considered as close kin to each other in a manner that one is a subset of the other. Colon and rectum are both a part of the large intestine. The colon is the part where the large intestine begins whereas the rectum is towards the end of the large intestine. The food first passes through the colon and then through the rectum towards the anus. The rectum is last 6-12 inches of the colon that extends to the anus.
Similarities and Differences between Colon and Rectal Cancer:
The symptoms of colon and rectal cancer are nearly the same since they both form a part of the large intestine itself. The factors responsible for the occurrence of both these cancers are also one and the same. However while colon cancer is not gender specific, rectal cancer occurrences are found more prominent in the men than in women. Also, rectal cancer becomes more difficult to cure than colon cancer. Colon cancer spreads to a wider area than the rectal cancer. The treatment and the time of surgery to be performed also vary amongst the two cancers.
Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer:
The symptoms of colon cancer are such that they do not necessarily imply the presence of this disease. However, if one is suffering from the aforesaid problems, quick medical attention must be secured and the following problems must be cured.
1. A frequent change in your bowel habits:
You may be experiencing diarrhea at once and then constipation at another. Though this could be a common problem, a recurring and subsisting bowel changes should be brought to medical attention. The frequent change in consistency of your stool is what you must be monitoring.
2. Rectal Bleeding:
This may not necessarily be a continuous flow of blood. You may notice passing out drops of blood while passing your bowels. It is definitely not something to overlook.
3. Pain during passing of Bowels:
Excretion is a natural process of your body. You must not be experiencing pain while doing that. The intensity of pain could differ. This could also be indicative of piles. Whatever the problem might be, pain in the rectal area during excretion is a definite sign you must bring to immediate notice of your doctor to prevent any disease whatsoever.
4. Persistent abdominal discomfort:
You could have been eating outside and experiencing discomfort in your abdomen. This includes having cramps, aches and gas. This could be a minor issue. You must be vigilant if it lasts for longer than normal.
5. A feeling of incomplete bowel passage:
Going to the washroom and passing of stools could be a regular activity for you but your system could constantly be hinting that not all the toxic has been excreted through the stools. That constant feeling of weight in your rectal portion could be indicating to you that you need to pass bowels more often than the normal. This could however just be a feeling.
You feel tired instantly. Fatigue strikes you earlier than later. You may be unable to perform normal functions as they may cause you to give in due to feeling of extreme weakness.
7. Unexplained Weight Loss:
Weight Loss is in vogue these days. You could tell someone that he/she has lost weight and that person would feel the happiest throughout the day. But an unusual amount of weight loss is not a healthy sign. Apart from many other health problems, it is indicative of one of the symptoms of colon cancer as well.
8. Dark Stools:
The colour of the stools could be darker than usual. You could notice dark brown colour of your stools. The stools could also contain blood.
It may be noted here that these symptoms may not necessarily be observable in the initial stages of cancer. By the time a person notices these problems, the chances are that the cancer has spread over already. Thus, when you notice all or any of these symptoms, you must not waste further time to get yourself examined. The question is, how then would you be able to prevent the aggravation of this disease? The answer to this is performing a Screening Test.
Getting Screened for Colon Cancer:
People who are at an average risk of colon cancer could get a screening done by the age of 45-50 years. However, if you’ve had a family history of colon cancer, you must get a screening done well in advance. In order to detect any chances of colon cancer, the doctors may also suggest tests like CT scan or colonoscopy. Colonscopy is when the doctor removes small tissues of the abnormal area in the abdomen and then these tissues are detected for presence of cancerous cells.
Preventive Measures against Colon Cancer:
You could prevent colon cancer by bringing some changes in your Lifestyle. The following are the changes you may bring in your daily life:
1. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains: Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, consisting various vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
2. Regulate your alcohol intake: If you drink alcohol, set your limits. Moderate amount of drinking is not harmful. Keep the balance. Not more than a drink a day is the recommended limit.
3. Stop Smoking: Quit smoking with immediate effect. No amount of smoking is considered healthy or acceptable. Ask your doctor about the same.
4. Exercise: Exercise is a must for our body. Not only for preventing colon cancer, it works effectively also against many other bodily problems.
5. Maintain Healthy Weight: Have a balanced diet along with regular exercises. Obesity or being an underweight are both not a healthy choice for your body.
People who intake regular aspirin are at a higher risk of having ulcers, bleeding of the abdomen and other related issues. This is the very reason most doctors do not recommend aspirin and aspirin like other dosages for their patients unless necessary. After being detected for colon or colorectal cancer, the treatment may vary from the stage at which it is discovered. The treatment ranges from medications, to chemotherapy and also surgery. Consult our doctor for additional information regarding the same.