Colon cancer, or Colorectal cancer, is one of the prevalent forms of cancer in men and women. Though more common in men, about 1 in every 24 women is also diagnosed with colon cancer. The stage 1 colon cancer symptoms are pretty significant being aware of which might help you get identified early.
Colon cancer begins in the large intestine in the colon, which is the final part of the digestive tract. It usually affects older people but can happen to anyone at any age. Colon cancer starts with clumps of small, benign (noncancerous) cells called polyps that form inside the colon. Over the due course of time, it is these polyps which turn into colon cancer. These polyps are small and might produce few symptoms, so doctors often recommend frequent screening tests, which help identify cancerous polyps and prevent colon cancer. Though highly treatable, the stage 4 colon cancer survival rate is less than 10%.
Colon cancer comes with various treatment options. If the colon cancer has fully developed, there are multiple options like surgery, drug treatments and radiation therapy like chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy. The symptoms of colon cancer in women and men do not vary widely, so knowing the symptoms will help take precautions.
Let us discuss how I knew I had colon cancer by exploring the causes, symptoms and ways of prevention.
What are the causes of colon cancer?
Mostly, the exact causes of colon cancer are not entirely known. Colon cancer begins when the healthy cells in the colon develop mutations in their DNA. The cell’s DNA contains all the necessary information and instructs a cell on how to perform. As the healthy cells grow, they orderly divide to help the body keep functioning naturally. But the cells with damaged DNA become cancerous and continuously keep dividing, which leads to the accumulation of the cells. It then finally leads to the growth of tumours.
It is with time that these cancerous cells keep on growing and start invading and destroying the nearby normal tissues. The cancerous cells have the ability to travel to the various parts of the body to their deposits, called metastasis. Stage 1 colon cancer symptoms are pretty common yet significant but are hard to differentiate from chronic gastritis. It is what makes identifying colon cancer at its early stages difficult.
The following are the significant symptoms of colon cancer.
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What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
The general yet most significant signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:
- A lasting change in bowel habits which includes consistent constipation or diarrhoea, a significant change in the consistency of the stool
- Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding
- A constant feeling of abdominal discomfort, which includes stomach cramps, pain or gas
- The feeling of your bowel not being empty causes a constant discomfort
- Sudden weight loss
- Feeling fatigued and weakness
These are the general symptoms of colon cancer which will keep you aware. Many people do not experience any significant stage 1 colon cancer symptoms as they truly depend on the size of the cancer and its location in the large intestine. Depending on this, the symptoms occur gradually and persist. When you notice consistent symptoms that make you worry, you must book an appointment with your doctor.
What are the risk factors?
The risk factors are very crucial as it plays a part in determining the stage 4 colon cancer survival rate. There are various factors which may increase the risk of developing colon cancer irrespective of age. Some of those concerning risk factors are as follows:
- Aged individuals: Significantly, people above 50 have a higher risk of colon cancer. However, the rates of colon cancer are also increasing among people under 50 years. But, the stage 4 colon cancer survival rate by age is significantly less for people above 50.
- Having a colon cancer history: The ones with a history of colon cancer have a higher risk of developing the one again in future.
- Inflammatory intestinal diseases: Chronic inflammatory intestinal diseases like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis etc., may cause symptoms of colon cancer in women and men, gradually developing colon cancer.
- Family history of colon cancer: Having inherited gene mutations through generations of your family or a blood relative with colon cancer increases the risk of developing colorectal or colon cancer.
- Inactive lifestyle and low-fibre diets: Following low-fibre and high-fat diets and an inactive lifestyle is one of the major reasons for developing colon cancer.
- Obesity and diabetes: Diabetic patients and the ones suffering from obesity have very low chances of stage 4 colon cancer survival rate.
- Previous radiation therapies: Radiation therapy conducted in the abdomen region to treat any previous cancer increases the risk of colon cancer.
5 Ways To Prevent Colon Cancer
- Opting for screening tests: Going for regular screening tests from the age of 45 is one of the essential measures to prevent the development of colon cancer.
- Including whole grains, fruits and vegetables in the diet: A nutrient-rich healthy diet can help prevent various diseases, one of which is colon cancer. It is essential to eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits and stay rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Limiting alcohol and quitting smoking: One of the crucial measures is to limit the consumption of alcohol and quit smoking for good.
- Living an active life: A top precaution is to lead a highly active lifestyle with vigorous exercise sessions.
- Keep the weight in check: Avoiding obesity by following a healthy diet and active exercise routine will help prevent and boost the stage 4 colon cancer survival rate by age.
Thus, following these will help you understand the common query of how I knew I had colon cancer. Colon cancer is treatable and comes with various treatment options. But you can only prevent developing and successfully surviving colon cancer by living an active and healthy lifestyle.
1. Can one lead a normal life after developing colon cancer?
Yes. Colon cancer is highly treatable and helps one lead a normal life after successful treatment.
2. Is colonoscopy uncomforting?
No. It is a simple test that can accurately detect any polyp on the colon.
3. What is the span of getting a colonoscopy?
You can opt for a colonoscopy in the span of every 10 years and stay relieved from developing colon cancer.