Statistics in the United States indicate that almost 150,000 people each year are diagnosed with colon cancer, which is also known as colorectal or bowel cancer. Survival rate is less and this is mostly attributed to late detection of the cancer. People with inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis or those who have had polyps are at risk of developing colon cancer. It has been observed that almost all bowel cancers arise from the large bowel, specifically from the cells that line the bowel.
People with a family history need to do screening tests at regular intervals as there are very less conclusive symptoms of this cancer. Medical experts believe that dietary factors are the main cause of colon cancer followed by hereditary factors. In most cases, surgery is considered as the best option for treatment. It is advisable that you consult a physician if you suspect that you have symptoms of colon cancer.
A large percentage of people with colon cancer are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to the adjoining tissue or organs. It is therefore important to identify symptoms that indicate colon cancer and undergo screening tests. The symptoms in young adults are difficult to identify as they are common with other diseases and conditions. One of the earliest signs of colon cancer is bleeding through the rectum which is commonly mistaken for piles.
Individuals will also experience a change in bowel habits for no apparent reason if they have developed colon cancer. Diarrhea is a common symptom of colon cancer and people pass small caliber stool in this period. This will be accompanied by a feeling that you haven't emptied the bowel and you will feel uncomfortable most times. In some cases people will also experience rectal pain, although this is rare.
It is also common to experience abdominal discomfort in the form of cramps and bloating, however this can be attributed to a plethora of other conditions. Constipation is another symptom that you need to watch out for, some people will also show signs of colonic obstruction, however this happens in the later stages. Abdominal distension where your belly sticks out without any weight gain is one of the visible signs of colon cancer.
Loss of weight is also associated with colon cancer and usually is the most ignored symptom of this type of cancer. People will also experience gas pains at regular intervals accompanied by loss of appetite. Another noticeable symptom of colon cancer in young adults is shortness of breath, but this is wrongly attributed to other conditions. Individuals will also develop iron deficiency and have a prevailing feeling of fatigue. Visible symptoms of anemia like lack in color of skin will also appear if you are affected by colon cancer.
Medical experts believe that surgery is the best option for treating patients with colon cancer. Surgeons will either remove a part of the colon or the full colon depending on the spread of the cancerous cells. Suggestive polyps may also be removed during surgery which is known as colonoscopy. In some cases radiation is used before surgery to try to prevent re-occurrence of the cancer.
Doctors will also use chemotherapy on patients whose cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes. Chemotherapy is also instrumental in increasing the survival rate of colon cancer patients and is also used as part of palliative care. Radiation therapy might be used to prolong the survival of patients who have undergone surgery for colon cancer.
Like for most other cancers, it is advisable to undergo screening tests for early detection as this is the key for effective treatment. If you have a history of cancer in your family doctors advise you to have routine checkups.
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