Diseases & Conditions

Colorectal Cancer: How It Starts and Warning Signs

Picture of Colorectal Cancer
Written by David

Colorectal Cancer: What Is It?

Not including skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and women and the second highest cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Yet, when found early, it is highly curable. This type of cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in the lining of the large intestine (colon) or rectum. Learn more about who gets colorectal cancer, how it is detected, and what the latest treatments can accomplish.

Colorectal Cancer: How It Starts

Colorectal cancers often begin as polyps benign growths on the interior surface of the colon. The two most common types of intestinal polyps are adenomas and hyperplastic polyps. They develop when there are errors in the way cells grow and repair the lining of the colon. Most polyps remain benign, but some have the potential to turn cancerous. Removing them early prevents colorectal cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Warning Signs

There are usually no early warning signs for colorectal cancer. For this reason it’s important to get screened. Detecting cancer early means it’s more curable. As the disease progresses, patients may notice blood in the stool, abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits (such as constipation or diarrhea), unexplained weight loss, or fatigue. By the time these symptoms appear, tumors tend to be larger and more difficult to treat.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Because colorectal cancer is stealthy, screenings are the key to early detection. Beginning at age 50, most people should have a colonoscopy every 10 years. This procedure uses a tiny camera to examine the entire colon and rectum. These tests not only find tumors early, but can actually prevent colorectal cancer by removing polyps (shown here).

Colorectal Cancer Survival Rates

The outlook for your recovery depends on the stage of your cancer, with higher stages meaning more serious cancer. The five-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least five years after being diagnosed. Stage I has a 74% five-year survival rate while stage IV has a five-year survival rate of only 6%.

Treating Advanced Colorectal Cancer

When colorectal cancer has spread to one or more lymph nodes (stage III), it can still sometimes be cured. Treatment typically involves a combination of surgery, radiation (being administered here), and chemotherapy. If the cancer comes back after initial treatment or spreads to other organs, it becomes much more difficult to cure. But radiation and chemotherapy may still relieve symptoms and help patients live longer.

Preventing Colorectal Cancer: Diet

There are steps you can take to dramatically reduce your odds of developing colorectal cancer. Researchers estimate that eating a nutritious diet, getting enough exercise, and controlling body fat could prevent 45% of colorectal cancers. The National Cancer Institute recommends a low-fat diet that includes plenty of fiber and at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Preventing Cancer With Exercise

Physical activity appears to be a powerful weapon in the defense against colorectal cancer. In one study, the most active participants were 24% less likely to have the cancer than the least active people. It didn’t matter whether the activity was linked to work or play. The American Cancer Society recommends exercising five or more days a week for at least 30 minutes a day.

About the author

David

www.alternative-pro.com