The Early Warning Signs of Bowel Cancer
Also known as colorectal cancer, bowel cancer is the third most common form of cancer. While this disease is typically diagnosed in patients over the age of 50, those who catch it in its earliest stages will have much more treatment options available to them. Due to the prevalence of this disease, all adults should take some time and learn about the most common symptoms of bowel cancer as well as a few of the unique causes of this medical condition.
One of the reasons why this disease might be ignored is because the symptoms are often attributed to a wide variety of other conditions. Many patients believe they have an ongoing flu or another intestinal issue such as IBS. The vast majority of patients who are diagnosed with this condition report persistent changes to their bowel habits. This includes the frequency of their bowel movements and the consistency of their stools.
Others report ongoing abdominal pain that only seems to subside for a short period of time. Patients often find themselves dealing with cramps and discomfort three or more times a week no matter what they have been eating. Blood in one’s stool is a very common symptom in the latest stages of this cancer, and anyone who notices this issue should immediately contact their doctor for further testing.
Causes and Risk Factors
The vast majority of patients who are diagnosed with this type of cancer are over the age of 50. That is why most specialists suggest annual cancer screening starting around that age. Those who have particularly unhealthy diets also tend to develop colorectal cancer at much higher rates. That includes a diet that is high in animal protein, saturated fats, and alcohol. Overweight patients who are not physically active have a much higher risk of developing many different forms of cancer including colorectal cancer. If you have a family history of cancer, then you should speak with your doctor about screening well before the age of 50.
The most effective way to reduce your risk of bowel cancer is to maintain a healthy weight through your diet and exercise. That includes at least 150 minutes of moderate training per week. Anyone who uses tobacco products should consider speaking with a specialist about products and services that will help them quit.
Treating Bowel Cancer
After you have been diagnosed with this medical condition, your doctor will most likely suggest further testing to learn more about the placement of the tumor. In the earliest stages of colorectal cancer, a doctor might be able to surgically remove the tumor with a quick and relatively simple procedure. If the cancerous cells have spread or the doctor feels as if they did not get all of the tumor, then they might suggest additional treatments. This includes traditional options such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. While there is currently no cure, many patients can stop the spread of their cancer as long as the condition is caught early.
Living With Bowel Cancer
Patients who have been diagnosed with cancer must immediately get proactive about their health and future including educating themselves on their condition and treatment options. Many people also find it beneficial to either join a support group or seek out loved ones for support. A positive mindset can be an extremely powerful tool throughout this process, and it often allows patients to continue looking for new medical options and strategies to overcome their cancer. Those who take an aggressive stance are much more likely to enjoy a higher quality of life for many years to come.