Colorectal Cancer: Essential Information
Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, is the third most common cancer worldwide and the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. It affects both men and women and can be detected early on through screenings and tests. While there is no sure way to prevent colorectal cancer, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options to ensure the best prognosis and highest chances of survival.
Signs & Symptoms
Early detection of colorectal cancer is key to increasing survival rates. Common signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- Changes in bowel habits, such as a persistent change in the thickness of stool or persistent constipation or diarrhea.
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool.
- Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas, or pain.
- Weakness and fatigue.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Aging – Colorectal cancer is most common in people over the age of 50.
- Family history of colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Low-fiber, high-fat diet.
- History of radiation therapy or inflammatory bowel disease.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If any of the above symptoms are present, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor may perform a range of tests to assess for colorectal cancer, including a physical exam, blood tests, imaging tests, and a colonoscopy.
If colorectal cancer is diagnosed, treatment usually depends on the stage of the cancer. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthys weight and diet.
- Don’t smoke.
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake.
- Consume a high-fiber, low-fat diet.
- Have regular screening tests.
It is important to note that there is no sure way to prevent colorectal cancer, but following these guidelines can help reduce your risk.
If you have any of the symptoms or risk factors listed above, see your doctor right away for an evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to increase survival rates.