Bowl Cancer Symptoms and How to Prevent It
Bowel cancer, otherwise known as colon cancer, is a fairly common cancer affecting approximately 1 in 17 people in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, bowel cancer is the third most common cancer among men in the United States. It is the second most common cancer for Hispanic, Native American, Alaskan, and Pacific Islander women. It ranks as the third most common cancer for white and African American women. In this article we will discuss what colon cancer is, its symptoms, and how you can help prevent it.
What is Colon Cancer?
The large intestine, also known as the colon, is the final stage of your digestive system, just before passing fecal matter to the rectum. Small adenomatous polyps within the colon can, over time, become transformed and develop into cancer. This is called Colon Cancer. When cells become cancerous in the rectum, it is referred to as Rectal Cancer. Together, these two conditions are often referred to as colorectal cancers.
Adenomatous polyps, which are abnormal cells along the inner colon wall, degenerate into adenocarcinomas. Men and women with adenomatous polyposis syndromes of numerous varieties are at high risk for developing colorectal cancer. These conditions tend to run in families, and they will usually become apparent before the patient reaches 40 years of age. These syndromes that run in families are known as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).
Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) also runs in families, but it develops without the initial polyps on the colon wall. In some cases, HNPCC can be screened through a genetic abnormality. Precancerous treatments are much more successful for patients who have been screened for HNPCC.
What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?
Symptoms of bowel cancer in men will be similar to bowel cancer symptoms in women. Oftentimes, patients will think that all rectal bleeding is due to hemorrhoids. As well, rectal bleeding may be hidden and chronic, showing up as an iron deficiency rather than an onset of cancer. Missing these preliminary symptoms of bowel cancer in women and men can prevent an early diagnosis.
Other bowel cancer symptoms in men and women are derived from an enlarged tumor blocking the colon, and may include:
1) A protrusion of the belly without a gain in weight. This is known as abdominal distention.
2) Nausea and/or vomiting.
3) Unexplainable drop in weight.
4) Noticeable change in bowel movements, including frequency or character.
5) Narrow or ribbon-like stools.
6) The feeling of incomplete evacuation after having a bowel movement.
7) A large or bulky tumor may cause rectal pain.
How can you prevent bowel cancer?
The best way to prevent bowel cancer is to detect it early. Getting regular screenings, fecal blood tests, sigmoidoscopies or colonoscopies, and polyp removal will all help detect an early onset of bowel cancer. Here are some more health tips for reducing your risk of bowel cancer:
1) A high fiber, low fat diet may help reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
2) Avoid obesity.
3) Quit smoking, or don’t start.
4) Estrogen replacement therapy and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin, may help lower your risk for bowel cancer.
5) Start taking 1 milligram of folic acid per day.
6) Exercise regularly.
7) Get your daily dosage of fruits of vegetables. And then eat some more.
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