What is colon cancer?

By definition, colon cancer (also known as colorectal cancer or bowel cancer) is the development of cancerous cells in the colon or rectum which forms a larger part of the larger intestine.

Based on statistics released by the center for disease control (CDC), about 51,783 adults were diagnosed of colon cancer in 2011.

Colon cancer originates from the epithelial cells lining the rectum of the gastro-intestinal tract.

Colon cancer symptoms
Colon cancer symptoms

It is the development of malignant cells that has the ability to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body if not curbed or treated within the shortest period of time after diagnosis. Colon cancer is common in men from 60 years of age and upwards and the risk increases with age.

Signs of colon cancer begins to show up when you start having worsening constipation, blood in stool and rectal bleeding. Colon cancer symptoms can only be accurately diagnosed if you report it early to your general practitioner as early as possible.

The extent of colon cancer development can be evaluated through colonoscopy a surgical method of verifying and removing cancer cells and small polyps located on the inner lining of the rectum.

Treatment is usually administered depending on the stage of development and colon cancer symptoms expressed. If the cancer has spread to a larger part of the large intestine, surgical removal of parts of the intestine might be necessary through colostomy.

Signs and symptoms of colon cancer

The signs and symptoms of colon cancer depends on the location of the cells, however the following listing shows common signs and symptoms of colon carcinoma.

Early signs of colon cancer

There are subtle signs you start seeing when colon cancer is in progress as well as when it starts developing, here are few common signs to look out for:

1) Rectal bleeding. While it is not all rectal bleeding that is actually a sign of colon cancer, if it happens frequently without too much exertion when defecating is a strong sign to take note of.

2) Weight loss. Foods will not be properly digested in that section of the rectum where the cancer growth shows up.

The activities of the micro-biome in the gut is going to be reduced thus reducing the efficiency of food digestion. There are about a trillion of bacteria that lives symbiotically in the rectum thus helping to ward off development of foreign cells with malignancy characteristic. Low diversity of gut bacteria in the rectum has been linked to colon cancer. When there is an unusual weight loss without any tenable reason, this could be one of them- colon cancer.

3) Decrease in stool thickness is another sign to look out for. Especially when it’s persistent, it calls for concern.

4) Loss of appetite.

5) Persistent and frequent rectal bleeding.

6) Nausea and vomiting

7) Anemia

8) Constipation gets worse.

The symptoms of colon cancer degenerates further as the carcinogenic cells advances further.

Risk factors

Colon cancer has a lot of risk factors attached to it such as age, genetic disorders inherited from parents as well as family history of bowel cancer, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcohol consumption, fatty diets such as processed red meat, low fiber diets; people who have digestive disorders such as ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease and inherited genetic disorders such as adenomatous polyps also raises the risk of having colon cancer.

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