Understanding Colorectal Cancer

Understanding Colorectal Cancer

Excluding some kinds of skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or rectum; it can be called colon or rectal cancer, depending on where they start. These cancers are mainly common among older adults, but they can occur at any age and affect anyone. Colorectal cancer usually begins as small benign cell clumps inside the colon. Over time, these abnormal growths become cancerous. Usually, polyps are small and produce mild or no symptoms. For this reason, regular screening tests are vital to helping prevent Colorectal cancer Houston by identifying and removing polyps.

Symptoms of colon cancer

If you have colon cancer, you will most likely not experience any symptoms during the onset or early stages of the disease. As the disease advances, symptoms appear, but they will likely vary depending on the size of cancer and its location in your large intestine.

Colon cancer causes signs and symptoms such as:

  • Rectal bleeding; you may notice blood in your stool
  • A change in the consistency of your stool. You may have diarrhea or constipation.
  • Fatigue
  • Ongoing abdominal discomfort, including pain, cramps, or gas

What causes colorectal cancer?                    

The causes of colorectal cancer remain uncertain. But generally, this type of cancer develops due to DNA mutations in the healthy cells in the colon. A cell’s DNA instructs the cell what to do; any changes in the DNA structure may result in the abnormal division of cells. Usually, healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way to maintain normal body functioning. However, if a cell’s DNA is damaged, cells continue to multiply even when new cells are not needed, forming a tumor. Over time, the cancer cells damage surrounding healthy tissues and may travel to other body parts to metastasize.

Risk factors for colorectal cancer

  • A personal history of polyps or colorectal cancer. You have a greater risk of colorectal cancer if you previously had noncancerous colon polyps or colon cancer.
  • Age. Anyone, regardless of age, can have colorectal cancer, but it is mainly diagnosed in individuals older than 50. But lately, colon cancer has become prevalent in people younger than 50; doctors have not established why.
  • Race. African-Americans are more likely to develop colorectal cancer than people of other races.
  • Inflammatory intestinal conditions. Diseases of the colon like ulcerative colitis predispose you to colorectal cancer.

How can I prevent colorectal cancer?

Physicians recommend that people with an average risk of colon cancer begin screening around age 45. But if your risk is higher, for example, you have a family or personal history of colon cancer; you should consider screening sooner. There are different screening options, each with its benefits and drawbacks. You can discuss your options colon screeningyour healthcare provider to decide on the appropriate tests.

Changes in your everyday life can also help reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. For example:

  • If you choose to drink alcohol, consume it in moderation.
  • Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; these play a role in cancer prevention
  • Maintain a stable weight

If you are at risk of colorectal cancer, book an appointment with your provider at Vikram S Jayanty, M.D. for colon cancer screening.

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