Healthy cells in the colon develop mutations in their DNA and cluster together to form a tumor, and over time these cancer cells grow to invade and destroy nearby normal tissue.
Although there is no specific reason for the development of colorectal cancer and most cases occur in people without a family history of colorectal cancer, about 1 in 3 people affected by the condition have other family members (parents, siblings, or children). suffered from colorectal cancer.
The reasons for the increased risk are not clear, but it is higher if a relative was diagnosed with cancer before age 50, or if more than one parent, sibling or child is affected.
Screening helps detect this cancer early, so if you have colorectal cancer, you should tell a close relative so they can start screening at the right age. Colorectal cancer presents a number of symptoms and risk factors that help detect it early.
Common symptoms of colorectal cancer include persistent changes in bowel habits, diarrhea or constipation, and changes in stool; Blood or rectal bleeding stool; Persistent discomfort, such as abdominal cramps, gas, or pain, and weight loss.
Colorectal cancer symptoms vary from patient to patient depending on the size and location of the colon. Few people with colon cancer do not experience any symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
Apart from family history, there are other risk factors such as old age, personal history of non-cancerous polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), sedentary lifestyle, type 2 diabetes, obesity and radiotherapy.
How to Protect Yourself from Colon Cancer?
Doctors insist that there are several precautions you can take to protect yourself from colon cancer. These include:
– Colon cancer screening by conventional colonoscopy every 10 years after age 45 is recommended before any signs or symptoms develop.
– It is a type of examination that uses a colonoscope to obtain images of the colon and rectum. This method is considered the “gold standard” in colon cancer screening because of its accuracy and your doctor’s ability to remove growths at the same time.
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
– This screening method uses a light and camera lens or sigmoidoscope to examine the colon. With this test, doctors can find microscopic traces of blood that cannot be seen during a normal bowel movement at home.
– Limiting your alcohol consumption, avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly are some preventive measures that can reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Always remember that prevention is better than cure. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, follow prudent lifestyle changes to prevent it.