#Coloncancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system.
Most colon cancers originate from small, noncancerous (benign) tumors called adenomatous polyps that form on the inner walls of the large intestine. Some of these polyps may grow into malignant colon cancers over time if they are not removed during colonoscopy. Colon cancer cells will invade and damage healthy tissue that is near the tumor causing many complications.
1. Older age. The great majority of people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50.
2. A personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps. If you’ve already had colon cancer or adenomatous polyps, you have a greater risk of colon cancer in the future.
3. Inflammatory intestinal conditions. Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, can increase your risk of colon cancer.
4. Family history of colon cancer and colon polyps.
5. Low-fiber, high-fat diet. Colon cancer and rectal cancer may be associated with a diet low in fiber and high in fat and calories. Research in this area has had mixed results. Some studies have found an increased risk of colon cancer in people who eat diets high in red meat.
6. A sedentary lifestyle. If you’re inactive, you’re more likely to develop colon cancer. Getting regular physical activity may reduce your risk of colon cancer.
7. Obesity. People who are obese have an increased risk of colon cancer and an increased risk of dying of colon cancer when compared with people considered normal weight.
1. Diarrhea or constipation
2. Changes in stool consistency
3. Narrow stools
4. Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
5. Pain, cramps, or gas in the abdomen
6. Pain during bowel movements
7. Continual urges to defecate
8. Weakness or fatigue
9. Unexplained weight loss
10. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
11. Iron deficiency (anemia)
1. Get Screened
Getting regular screening tests for colon cancer is the single best way to protect yourself from the disease. It can catch cancer early, when it’s most treatable, and help prevent the disease by finding abnormal growths called polyps that can turn into cancer.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Except for smoking, nothing else raises the overall risk of cancer more than being overweight. At least 11 different cancers have been linked to weight gain and obesity, including colon cancer. An ideal goal is to weigh around what you did when you were 18 years old. Realistically, if you’ve put on weight, the first goal is to stop gaining weight, which has health benefits by itself. Then, for a bigger health boost, slowly work to lose some weight.
3. Don’t Smoke
It hardly needs saying anymore, but not smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health. On top of raising the risk of serious diseases like heart disease, stroke and emphysema, smoking is a major cause of at least 14 different cancers, including colon cancer.
4. Be Physically Active
It’s hard to beat regular activity. It lowers the risk of many serious diseases, including colon cancer, and provides a good mental boost. Any amount of physical activity is better than none, but it’s good to aim for around 30 minutes or more of moderate activity each day.
5. Drink Only Moderately, if at All
Alcohol is a strange thing when it comes to health. It’s heart-healthy in moderation but can increase the risk of colon and other cancers at even low levels. So what does this mean? If you drink moderately, there’s likely no reason for you to stop. If you don’t drink, though, there’s no reason for you to start. Heavy drinkers should try to cut down or quit.
Dr Vijay Anand Reddy,
Director – Apollo Cancer Institutes,
Apollo Health City, Jubilee Hills,