What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal Cancer (also known as the colon cancer, rectal cancer or the bowel cancer) is a medical condition whereby the patient experiences uncontrolled cell growth in the areas of colon and rectum. It generally begins with the multiplication of the colon lining. If not treated in time, it can spread into the muscle layers underneath the lining and then through the colon wall. It is a notorious form of cancer that usually affects people in the age bracket of 50 and 75.
Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal Cancer is typically characterized by the following symptoms:
- Prolonged periods of diarrhea or constipation
- Change in bowel habits
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain, cramps or bloating
- Fatigue and weakness
- Blood in feces
- Narrow stools
- Nausea or vomiting
- A feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
These symptoms can be confused with other medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer, diverticulosis and other problems. Hence, timely medical consultation is recommended if you are experiencing any of these conditions. Colorectal cancers are treatable when they are diagnosed well in time.
Things You Need To Reconsider
This month we are creating awareness about colorectal cancer so we may help you in making better decisions for yourself and your loved ones. Colorectal cancer, like most other forms of cancers, does not have a single cause. There are multiple factors that increase the risk of getting colorectal cancer. However, having all risk factors may not necessarily mean you will get the disease. Nevertheless, you need to be extremely careful about your lifestyle choices in order to prevent the onset of this malicious disease.
Here are a few pointers you should always keep in mind.
- Red meats and processed meats consumed extensively increase the risk for colon cancer. You should be mindful about your diet and try to consume a well-balanced meal at all times. Moreover, grilled meats or those cooked on extremely high flames are known to develop chemicals which can increase the risk of colorectal cancers. Try to strike a balance between all kinds of foods that you consume.
- Exercise helps in keeping the digestive tract healthy. Lack of exercise is known to lead to a number of health complications including colorectal cancers.
- Smoking is injurious to health and can increase the risk of all kinds of cancers.
- Alcohol abuse is also known to be linked with a higher incidence of colorectal cancer as this disrupts the proper functioning of the digestive tract.
- Having a family history of colorectal cancer or other hereditary diseases like familial adenomatous polyposis or Lynch syndrome increasing the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Even though there is not much you can do to prevent its onset, regular checkups and consistent medical examinations can help identify it in the early stages.
- If you have had a previous incidence of colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, you are at a higher risk of getting colorectal cancer.
Make sure your lifestyle does not facilitate the onset of colorectal cancer.