The earlier we find colon cancer, the more likely we can beat it! You can help prevent this disease in yourself and loved ones by being aware of the possible symptoms and risk factors for Colon Cancer.
Symptoms of colon cancer include, but are not limited to, the below.
See your healthcare professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
- Changes In Your Bowel Habits That Include Diarrhea Or
Constipation Lasting More Than Four Weeks
- Blood In The Stool Or Bleeding From The Rectum
- Narrowing Of The Stool
- Abdominal Pain
- Persistent Abdominal Cramps
- The Feeling That Your Bowels Do Not Fully Empty
- Weakness, Fatigue Or Unexplained Weight Loss
- Decreased Appetite
Risk Factors to Consider
A recent study found that maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, limiting alcohol consumption, and eating a healthy diet reduce the risk of CRC by more than one-third (37%). People at increased risk because of family history of colon polyps/ colon cancer or because of a certain medical history may be advised to begin screening before age 50. Risk factors include, but are not limited to, the below.
The risk of colon cancer increases with age, usually over the age of 50. With improved screening efforts there has been some progress in preventing colon cancer in this older population, but in recent years there has been a rise in cases in people under age 50.
Smoking & Alcohol
Smoking is associated with an increased risk for colon cancer and also appears to decrease survival rate; especially in those who are smoking at the time the cancer is found. Excess alcohol increases risk for colon cancer and other cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends a maximum of 2 servings of alcohol/day for men and 1 for women.
Though most cases occur in people who don’t have a relative with colon cancer, up to 30% of Colon Cancer patients have a family history of the disease. People with a first-degree relative (parent, brother/sister, child) with colon cancer have 2 to 4 times the risk as people without a family history, depending on their age and how many are affected.
African Americans are 20% more likely to have colon cancer and 40% more likely to die from colon cancer.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
People with a history of Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease may be at increased risk depending on the severity of their condition, the length of bowel involved and the length of time they have had active disease. It is important to have regular check-ups.
Obesity & Diabetes
Obesity and diabetes may increase one’s risk for colon cancer. A recent study found that maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, limiting alcohol consumption, and eating a healthy diet reduce the risk of CRC by more than one-third (37%).
Questions To Ask Your Physician
Am I at a higher risk for colon cancer?
When should I get screened for colon cancer?
What are the benefits of a colonoscopy?