While colon cancer is most common among adults, it can be found in any age group and its early signs can be hard to pick up on. Colon cancer is a kind of cancer that forms at the end of the digestive tract in the colon and when it begins it does not produce very noticeable symptoms and as such, it can go unnoticed.
Colon cancer can be treated in several ways such as radiation, chemotherapy, drug treatments, and surgery. It is important to be screened for colorectal cancer as it can be difficult to perceive on your own because the early stages can oftentimes be overlooked.
There are several symptoms of colon cancer that are perceivable and if you notice them, you should consult with your doctor and get a screening.
Although in the beginning colon cancer can often be accompanied by unnoticeable symptoms, there are several warning signs to look out for that can indicate that something is out of the ordinary and that screening should be done.
- Diarrhea, constipation, or noticeable changes in your stool.
- Weight loss
- Bloody stool, rectal bleeding
- Cramps and abdominal pain
- Chronic fatigue and/or weakness
It is important to note that these symptoms can present themselves in different fashions, sometimes being prominent and sometimes they won’t even be present at all. This can all depend on the stage of the cancer as well as where it is located within the colon.
What Should I Do?
Whether you are experiencing symptoms of colon cancer or not, getting screened for it is the best way to catch it early on and begin treatment in the event that there is cancer present. Typically, screening is advised for anyone that is 45 or older, but if symptoms are present then it should be done as needed.
There are several different ways that doctors can screen for colon cancer and your doctor’s recommendation is what will determine which test you take. If you have a history of colon cancer within your family, you should let your doctor know and that may result in them recommending that you be screened earlier than the average recommended age.
Getting screened is extremely important because when colon cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is 90% and treatment is considered to be easier. The later the stage that the cancer is discovered, the more of a chance it has to metastasize which can significantly lower the survival rate depending on the time frame.
What If Am High Risk For Colon Cancer?
There are several reasons that someone may be at high risk for colon cancer. A family history of colorectal cancers is a significant risk factor and is information that should be shared with your doctor as they may want to conduct screening before the typical age of 45. Lifestyle is another key factor.
If you are largely inactive and do not get a lot of exercise, this can put you at risk for colon cancer and can be remedied by getting more exercise. Lifestyle choices such as tobacco usage and alcohol consumption also play a risk and should minimize or cut out entirely to greatly reduce the chance.
Choosing a high fiber diet and eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible can also help promote a healthy colon.
Listen to Your Body
If you are high risk for colon cancer or are experiencing symptoms, speak with your doctor about getting screened. Otherwise, you should absolutely take the age 45 screening seriously and get it done to make sure that you are in good health or if there is any polyps or cancer, that it be caught and treated early.