Recognizing Colon Cancer

Colon cancer, also known as colorectal canceraffects the colon or large intestine, which is the lower portion of the digestive system. It’s critical to recognize the common signs and prevent this deadly disease which is the second top cause of death for both males and females.

In 1996, more Americans died of cancer than died in WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam combined, with 550,000 dying of cancer!

What to Look for to Recognise Colon Cancer

Common Symptoms: Everyone, and especially people who are at high risk, need to quickly recognize the symptoms of this deadly disease. If you experience any of these signs, promptly see your doctor. These may include: constipation, diarrhea and thin stools continuing for several days. Blood or dark stools which indicate rectal bleeding. Feeling the need for moving your bowels, but not getting relief when having one. Abdominal pain or cramping. Feeling tired and weak. Unexplained weight loss.

What Preventative Measures should I take?

Prevention Measures: Have a diet rich in fiber, including plenty of fruits, vegetables and water. Soda damages your colon in many ways. (Even the artificially sweetened ones) Stay away from red or processed meats (that are not grass fed) as they have been linked cancer. Exercise more. While consistent moderate exercise lowers your risk, more intense exercising is even better. Be sure you get the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D3. Don’t smoke. Get screened—The most important preventative step you can take to lower your risk is to get regular colorectal cancer screenings as these help detect cancer or precancer.  If polyps are found, your doctor can remove them before they become cancerous. When colon cancer is detected early, there’s a strong likelihood it can be cured.

Risk Factors: Excess weight—Being overweight, obese and gaining weight, particularly around your belly, can place you at risk.  Age—Your odds of getting colon cancer increase with age as over 90 percent of people who have it receive their diagnosis after their 50th birthday. Polyps are also more plentiful in older people. Heredity—If you have a close relative, such as a parent, sibling or child with it, you’re more at risk, particularly if they had it when they were younger. The closer the relative, the greater is the risk.

An estimated 1 out of every 3 cancer deaths in the United States is linked to excess body weight, poor nutrition, and/or physical inactivity. 

Considerations: Although both men and women can get this deadly cancer, it attacks men more. If you do have colorectal cancer, the first step is usually surgically removing the tumor. The type of treatment typically depends on the stage of the cancer. Chemotherapy treatments usually follow with most treatments lasting for approximately six months. A virtual colonoscopy with Dr. Blanchett at Front Range Imaging in Boulder can help detect colon cancer. This is different from a standard colonoscopy as it does not use a scope so it doesn't pose risks to the colon. What's more, the Boulder Center for Vibrant Health provides a variety of health services, such as massage therapy, colon hydrotherapy and colonoscopy prep, which is a procedure that removes waste materials in the body. Please contact us for more information.

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