You may not think about your colon often, but ensuring it functions properly is essential for your overall health. The colon, also known as the large intestine, removes waste from the body. However, when cancerous cells grow in the colon, it can lead to various symptoms that are difficult to ignore. If left untreated, colon cancer can spread to other body parts, making it critical to recognize the signs and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide, affecting millions of people annually. Although it can be a daunting topic, educating ourselves on the signs and symptoms of colon cancer is necessary so we can take proper precautions and seek treatment if necessary.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the various symptoms of colon cancer, how they may present themselves, and what steps you can take to stay healthy and prevent the disease before it’s too late.
Colon cancer overview
Colon cancer is a type of cancer that affects the large intestine, and it is the third most common type of cancer worldwide. Generally, it is asymptomatic, meaning that the disease does not present any visible symptoms in the early stages. This lack of early warning signs means cancer can go undetected for some time. When diagnosed, cancer may have already advanced to a more severe stage.
The risk factors for colon cancer include age, certain genetic predispositions, a family history of cancer, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. Research has also found that a diet high in processed foods, red meats, and refined sugars can increase the risk of developing colon cancer. It is essential to recognize that these factors may increase the risk, but they do not guarantee that the person will get cancer.
Screening tests are available to detect early stages of colon cancer, such as colonoscopies, which involve a camera being inserted into the colon to look for any signs of abnormalities. Other tests may also be performed, such as fecal occult blood tests, which check for any traces of blood in the stool. Early detection through these tests is the key to successful treatment and can help to prevent more severe complications.