Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that develops in the colon or rectum. It is one of the most common types of cancer, and it affects millions of people worldwide. In this blog, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of colon cancer.
What Causes Colon Cancer?
The exact cause of colon cancer is unknown. However, it is believed that certain factors increase the risk of developing the disease. Some of these factors include age, most cases are diagnosed in people over 50 years of age. People with a family history of colon cancer are more likely to develop the disease. Medical conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease have a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Lifestyle factors, such as being sedentary, obesity, smoking, and consuming a lot of red meat and processed food can also increase the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer
The symptoms of colon cancer can vary depending on the location and stage of the disease. Some common symptoms include:
- Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unintentional weight loss
- Nausea or vomiting
Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to see your doctor. Your doctor may perform a physical exam and recommend further tests, such as a colonoscopy, to diagnose colon cancer.
A colonoscopy involves inserting a long, flexible tube with a camera into the rectum and colon to look for any abnormalities. If a suspicious area is found, a biopsy may be taken to confirm the presence of cancer.
How is Colon Cancer Treated?
The treatment of colon cancer depends on the stage of the disease. The most common treatment for colon cancer is surgery to remove the cancerous tissue. In some cases, a portion of the colon or rectum may need to be removed. Chemotherapy is another treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is often used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy can also be use high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It is sometimes used in combination with chemotherapy. Targeted therapy is another treatment that targets specific proteins or genes that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Colon Cancer Prevention
There are several things you can do to lower your risk of developing colon cancer, such as:
- Eating a healthy diet that is high in fiber and low in red meat and processed foods
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Quitting smoking
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are near the age of 50, it’s time to see a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. The experts at Lane Gastroenterology in Zachary are fellowship trained and certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and have fulfilled the requirements for the sub-specialty Board of Gastroenterology.