Should women be concerned about colon
While it does not get the
attention of other cancers, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of
cancer-related deaths for Illinois women. It is also one of the easiest cancers
to prevent and detect.
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
Colon cancer often has no symptoms. However,
rectal bleeding can be a warning sign and should never be ignored. Notify your
physician so that a detailed medical history, X-ray and possibly endoscopic
evaluation may be done to make a diagnosis.
Are some people at higher risk for colon
You may be at increased risk for colon cancer
if you have a history of colitis due to Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
(which are both characterized by diarrhea). If you have a family history of
colon cancer, you might also be at increased risk. It is a common misconception
that colon cancer is a disease that primarily strikes men. An equal number of
men and women die from colon cancer every year.
What are the treatment options for colon
Surgery is the most common treatment, followed
by chemotherapy, for patients in the later stages of colon cancer. Evidence
suggests that the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDs) is an option in the prevention of sporadic colon cancer by reducing
the incidence and size of the cancer.
What are the
screening tests for colon cancer?
Fecal occult blood testing is a chemical test
for blood in the feces. This is a simple and painless test done by obtaining a
smear of feces and placing it on a strip. It can be done at your doctor's
office or at home.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure during
which a hollow, lighted tube is inserted in the rectum to detect growths in the
lower section of the colon where most tumors appear. It is recommended every
five years after age 50, or for people at high risk.
Digital rectal examination is done by a doctor,
but it only detects tumors near the anus.
Colonoscopy also uses a hollow, lighted tube
called a colonoscope to inspect the entire colon. The colonoscope allows the
physician to take a biopsy or to remove a polyp if found. It is recommended
every 5-10 years or as a follow-up to a positive screening.
How can I reduce my risk for colon cancer?
- Be physically active; include at least 30
minutes of exercise or activity in each days schedule.
- Eat a diet rich in whole grains, fiber, fruits
- Avoid fatty foods and excess alcohol.
- Know your familys cancer history.
- If you are over 50 or have a family history of
colon cancer, get screened yearly.
You can find out more about colon cancer by
contacting the following organization:
National Cancer Institutes Cancer