What is colon cancer ?
Colon cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon (large intestine) or the rectum.The wall of the colon and rectum is made up of several layers. Most cancers begin as a growth (polyp) on the inner lining of the colon or rectum and can gradually grow into the wall of the colon. When cancer cells are in the wall, they can then grow into blood or lymph vessels and travel to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Some types of polyps can change into cancer over the course of several years, but not all polyps become cancer. Removal of colon polyps can prevent colorectal cancer.
2 main types of polyps are:
Adenomatous polyps (adenomas) are called pre-cancerous condition because they sometimes change into cancer
Hyperplastic polyps and inflammatory polyps are more common but they rarely change into cancer.
When to see a doctor
If you notice any symptoms of colon cancer, such as blood in your stool, a change in your bowel habits including diarrhea or constipation, persistents abdominal discomfort or pain, weakness and unexplained weight loss, you should go to see a doctor.
In the early stages of the disease there often are no symptoms, which makes frequent preventive screenings important , especially if you are over 50 years of age or have other risk factors.
Colon cancer risk factors
If you or your family member has a history of adenomatous polyps or colorectal cancer you are at increased risk. Other risk factors include:
- over 50 years of age
- inflammatory intestinal conditions or diabetes
- sedentary lifestyle
- smoking, heavy use of alcohol
- low-fiber and high-fat diet, obesity.
Importance of prevention – Get screened for colon cancer
Guidelines generally recommend colon cancer screenings begin at age 50. If you have other risk factors your doctor may recommend earlier screening. You can make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk. If your doctor has recommended colon cancer screening, you might be able to choose from various colon cancer screening tests. Screening methods include laboratory tests from blood and stool sample, standard colonoscopy (the rectum and colon are examined by flexible lighted tube with a tool for removing tissue) or CT (computed tomographic scanner) examination.
Some people are reluctant to attend the colonoscopy screening, but it is good to remember that any discomfort or embarrassment from colon cancer screening is temporary — and detecting problems early could save your life.
Swiss Clinic offers gastroenterology specialist consultations and preventive screenings. Ask for an appointment to our gastroenterologist specialist Dr Iván Igaz. For appointments call our customer service +36-1-225 0566 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org