Tips for Prevention of Colon Cancer
is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. It is also known as Bowel Cancer and is characterized by the presence of cancerous lesions and masses in the colon, rectum and the vermiform appendix (the junction of the small intestine and the large intestine). The risk for colon cancer increases mostly for individuals above the age of 50. Some steps for the
prevention of colon cancer
can definitely help to bring down the incidence of this disease.
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Tips for Prevention of Colon Cancer
1. Look for Symptoms:
If you have persistent symptoms like abnormal stools as in thin stools, bloody stools, unexplained and abnormal weight loss, abdominal cramping and pain you must go to the physician immediately and get yourself checked.
2. If you are above the age of 50, go for a Colon Screening:
Research indicates that beyond the age of 50, one in four people has polyps. 90 percent of the people diagnosed with cancer are above the age of 50. Various tests like sigmoidoscopy ( flexible tube with camera is inserted through the anus to examine the sigmoid colon), Colonoscopy ( similar to sigmoidoscopy but the entire length of the colon is examined), Stool tests etc is done. Sometimes more than one test is needed to come to a conclusion.
3. Analyse Personal Medical History:
Your personal medical history is important and could put you in a higher risk category for colon cancer. Research indicates that women who had breast, uterine or ovarian cancer are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Previous experience with colon polyps, hemorrhoids and rectal bleeding also makes it prudent for the individual to go for regular screening. Chronic inflammation of the anal passage and colon as in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s disease, diverticulum etc also increases the risk of developing the cancer.
4. Get Genetic Counselling:
People who have a history of the disease in the household, as in parents or close relation being affected by it, might carry genetic mutations linked to heredity colon cancer. FAP or Familial Adenomatous Polyposis is caused by the mutation of the APC gene. People with the mutated gene are susceptible to get polyps from a young age. Colon Cancer develops approximately from 1 % of the cases FAP. Another condition caused by inheriting the mutated genes leading to the development of colon cancer is the HNPCC or the Heredity NonPolyposis Colon Cancer. If you are born with the gene then you have every chance of developing colon cancer. Approximately, 2-5% of the cases of colon cancer can be traced back to this gene.
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5. Eat a Balanced Diet:
It is very important to eat the right food. There are so many things available in nature that is full of such antioxidants which have cancer preventing properties. A diet full of necessary nutrients, vitamins, essential fatty acids, fiber can help prevent the cancer. Diet rich in fat and cholesterol especially from animal meat has been found to increase the risks of colon cancer.
It is very important to exercise and maintain an active lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight is extremely essential. Being overweight and obese puts more stress on the abdominal organs especially the colon. Obese men and women have a higher risk of colon cancer than people with a healthy weight. Besides abdominal fat increases the risk of cancers as well. Research indicates that exercising can reduce the risk of colon cancer.
7. Give up Smoking:
Research has indicated that smoking can increase the size of colon polyps. The chances of the polyp becoming cancerous increases with an increase in size.Smoking is an open invitation to the carcinogens to enter the body. 12% of fatal colorectal cancers have been associated with smoking.
8. Stay away from radiation:
Our bodies are exposed to a natural radiation from natural environment. The average American receives a dose of about 3 millisieverts from sources like soil, rocks, electronics and airplane travel. A millisievert is the standard and unit of measuring radiation. It requires a lot of radiation to reach the level to cause cancer. However, little amounts do add up. So it would be a good idea to keep in mind the aspect of radiation. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, colon cancer can be caused by doses of above 1000 millisieverts.