Colon cancer is one of the most painful cancers. In fact, colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer type in the United States. More than 51,000 people died of this cancer in the year 2019 alone. Those who smoke or drink alcohol regularly or are living in a condition constantly exposed to cancer causing pathogens are more prone to colon cancer. And once diagnosed, it can be deadly if the individual fails to undergo treatment.
That doesn’t mean everyone who is exposed for a short period of time to known colon cancer causing elements such as bad diet, smoking and alcohol will get this disease. The 5 years survival rate for colon cancer is 63 percent. The death rate in 2017 was 57 percent less compared to that in the year 1970. Removing one or two cancerous polyps from the colon can increase the 5-year survival rate. Early warning signs of colon cancer are:
1. Bloody stool
Often patients first see a doctor after noticing blood in the stool. After all, not many conventional illnesses result in blood in excrement. While one of the symptoms of colon cancer is blood, remember that hemorrhoids may also cause rectal bleeding as well as consuming some foods, such as beets, synthetic foods and juices. However, bright red blood in the stool is also a common sign indicating bleeding in the rectum or colon, and should never be ignored.
2. Major change In bowel habits
Most warning signs are loud and clear, such as major change in bowel habits, bloating, stomach cramp and so forth. It’s important to see your doctor if the above symptoms occur without any explanation or not the direct result of a diet change. If your bowel habits don’t return to normalcy even after two weeks, visiting a doctor early will not only help find the reason, but could save your life as well. Treating colon cancer at an early stage is a lot easier than treating it at later stages. Your chances of survival are also higher if the cancer is diagnosed early.
3. Narrow stools
If you notice that your stools are narrower than usual, and you have been following the same diet every day, have a colonoscopy done. Most health insurance providers cover the entire cost of one colonoscopy each year in the U.S. Narrower than normal stools tend to develop in patients as a polyp or cancerous tumor increases in growth. Tumor formation may decrease the internal diameter of the colon or rectum so that only thin stool can pass through.
The best way to cure colorectal cancer is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Most cases of this cancer arise from polyps found in the inner lining of the colon. Detecting and removing them at the earliest stages, via a colonoscopy can easily reduce the risk of colon cancer. Screening is generally recommended starting at the age of 50-years old, but men who are at higher risk often have family or medical history, and are advised to start screenings before the age of 45.